The Bridge: National Bohemian

For their third album, this eclectic and soulful rockin’ Baltimore sextet has brought in Steve Berlin to produce these 11 originals and it’s made a big difference. For just as Berlin’s band, Los Lobos, stretches the boundaries of genres, so does The Bridge.

There’s two keys to just how special this band is: one, the power, scope, strength, expressiveness and diversity of the voice of lead singer Cris Jacobs (he is absolutely mesmerizing; the kind of voice you have to stop whatever you’re doing and just sit there and marvel at!) and two, the unorthodox instrumentation—guitar, mandolin, hiphop-style beatbox, bass, saxophone, keyboards and drums—that gives The Bridge its color and passion and, most of all, its singular individuality.

Jacobs is absolutely haunting—like a young Paul Rodgers of Free—on opener “Sanctuary.”

After the sparkling hoedown of “Chavez,” the Southern Rock of “Big Wheel,” a folk murder ballad (“Moonlight Mission”) and some stone New Orleans Second Line party time (“Geraldine”), Jacobs pulls off the kind of country-soul ballad (“Long Way To Climb”) that beats half these dumb-ass Nashville acts at their own game.

“Rosie” boogies like Little Feat.

“Stranger In My Own Home” is a bluesy mysterious backwoods lament that, again, Jacobs pulls off with command and presence that he’s just not supposed to have at this stage of his young career.

The Bridge will be playing at The Highline Ballroom in New York City February 12.

In A Word: Amazing