When Leon Bridges walked into Niles City Sound in Fort Worth during summer, 2014, Niles City Sound didn't exist — nor, really, did Leon Bridges. Bridges was still a dishwasher who played unpolished sets during open mic nights and Niles was an empty warehouse in the process of becoming a recording studio.
The demos Bridges laid down at the then-empty warehouse that later became his debut album, the Grammy-nominated Coming Home. But while Bridges' life today is a world removed from what it was this time two years ago, Niles remains close to home — which is why he invited the Dallas Observer to visit him there last week.
Bridges was in town for a screening of a new documentary, This is Home, at Shipping & Receiving (which is located in the same building as Niles) and a sold-out appearance at WinStar World Casino. Videographers Daniel Driensky and Sarah Reyes filmed him play in the room where he recorded "Coming Home," "Better Man" and "Brown Skinned Girl."
Joining Bridges in the video are Niles' Josh Block, Austin Jenkins and Chris Vivion. The warehouse is now a studio, and one responsible for producing a unique sound. "It's a huge difference," Bridges says, referring to the changes that took place at Niles, even comparing the beginning and conclusion of recording. For him today, just about everything is different. Even home.