Leon Bridges explores human despair and redemption in the stirring video for “River,” the ruminative closer from his Grammy-nominated debut LP Coming Home. The clip, written and directed by Miles Jay, finds Bridges quietly singing the track on a motel bed, as footage from the Baltimore unrest plays on a nearby television.
The intimate performance seamlessly fades into the recorded track as Bridges belts in a gospel style, “In my darkness I remember / Momma’s words reoccur to me ‘Surrender to the good lord / And he’ll wipe your slate clean.” The video, filmed in Baltimore and featuring glimpses into a candlelight vigil, speaks to the resiliency of the city’s black communities.
“The river has historically been used in gospel music as symbolism for change and redemption. My goal was to write a song about my personal spiritual experience,” Bridges said in a statment. “It was written during a time of real depression in my life and I recall sitting in my garage trying to write a song which reflected this struggle … I want this video to be a message of light. I believe it has the power to change and heal those that are hurting.”