The first time Leon Bridges heard Marvin Gaye’s holiday classic, “Purple Snowflakes,” he was bussing tables at a Tex-Mex restaurant in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Now? He’s teaming up with Amazon Music to create his own sure-to-be-classic version of the track in time for your Christmas playlist.
Bridges’ story is full of surreal moments, but this one in particular has stopped him in his tracks. “It’s a full circle moment,” he explains to Complex. “I remember hearing that track for the first time, and it definitely resonated with me. To say I’m honored to do a rendition of it is an understatement.”
Bridges doesn’t necessarily have any expectations for the new song. After all, he just released his most recent solo album, the stellar Gold-Diggers Sound back in July, and retreating back to his hometown to tackle a Marvin Gaye tune sounded more like a vacation than work. His hopes are humble: “I guess I simply want people to see that I took that song and put my own spin on it. Hopefully I made a contribution to the greats who have done Christmas covers in the past.”
Bridges is the sort of artist that never goes halfway, though. For this cover, he recruited a band alongside his collaborator Josh Block, even snagging pedal steel player Will Van Horn to add some Texas to his arrangement. It honors the original but is undeniably a Leon Bridges song. In that way, it functions like all the best covers do. It’s a Christmas song without the saccharine sheen that too often is used as wrapping paper. It’s perfect for the Texas heat when you’re dreaming of colder days, or in the middle of winter when the fireplace is cooking and a turkey is in the oven. The R&B and soul disciple wraps his cover in golden vocals and a warm array of instruments, built from the past but modern in that recognizable Leon Bridges cool.
The song is available to stream now on Amazon Music as a part of the Amazon Originals program. You can listen to it now right here. And if you aren’t a subscriber yet, they’re currently offering a three-month trial, which you can access here.