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Singer/Songwriter Marc Broussard is a true anomaly in this new era of entertainment where what was once fought against has been embraced. As the record industry shifts and writhes and the money keeps getting thinner, innovation is being traded by expedience and a lot is getting losMarc Broussardt in the shuffle. Few are the recording artists who approach their work in the old way; sacrificing astronomic sales and instant gratification for gradual growth and steady, long-term recognition for delivering rock-solid performances hard won on the road.

Part troubadour, part family man and all-around powerhouse performer Marc Broussard proves just that point as he continues to draw fans around the country to see his signature smoky, swamp-filled R&B and Blues styling in person. If Broussard is booked, you can expect a show filled with people who have come with one purpose in mind: to have a great time. Broussard delivers that in spades and that is why his fans keep coming back for more.

It was a cold, wet day in December when Dish caught up with Marc Broussard at the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, before he took to the stage for his final show of 2008. Having traveled through the night on his bus, Broussard was still awakening from the long, hard road of nonstop touring that had led him to this point. This day was a kind of coming full circle of the whirlwind of activity that began earlier in the year, with the release of Broussard’s third album Keep Coming Back.  Recorded in just eleven days in Nashville, the phenomenal experiment in varied traditions of R&B, Soul and Rock was quickly followed by three EP recordings (Must Be Marc BroussardThe Water, Hard Knocks and When It’s Good) and a touring schedule that would be daunting to some of today’s  veterans. All of this, following a split with Vanguard records. After releasing his second full-length album Save Our Soul, a compilation of classic Soul covers, events were set in motion that would lead Broussard to record the best album of his career so far. 

Broussard comes from something of a privileged background in the sense that his father Ted Broussard, was a well known R&B guitarist for The Boogie Kings. The younger Broussard was raised attending his father’s shows and was certainly well known in certain circles. His first release, the Momentary Setback EP, followed his departure from the short lived Louisiana based Christian band ironically named “Y”. Why indeed?  "My parents always helped me stay on the right track," said Broussard of his spiritual upbringing. "I have knowledge of a higher power and I want to put forth a positive message in my music." Though his spiritual beliefs are still prevalent in his work even today, Broussard is no preacher. “I write about what I know and the way I was brought up is as much a part of that as the fact that I’m from Louisiana. I just do what I do and I hope people can take something from that.”

“The sound of Keep Coming Back was very important to me,” Broussard continued as we chatted backstage while his crew loaded in to the venue. “Over the years I had been approached again and again by fans who told me that they loved what I did but they thought the recorded music didn’t do the live shows justice. I didn’t really think much of it at first but it kept happening over aMarc Broussardnd over again. So I thought to myself this might really be something important to consider because it is the fans who keep all this going.”

Having just been signed to Atlantic Records after a rough time first at Island Records then a short stint at Vanguard, Broussard set to the task of gathering the best session musicians that Music City had to offer in order to enhance his own touring band in the studio. The addition of Tim Akers on keys and Gary Burnette on guitar was only the first important step in the equation. “We recorded everything in real time with very little tracking and no rehearsal,” Broussard explained. “I really wanted to capture the warmth and the magic that is our live sound with this record and I think we managed to accomplish that with no problem. The response has been amazing.”  In fact, Keep Coming Back with its departure from strict Bayou Soul moorings, expands into a variety of roots music traditions with each individual track, has met with critical if not commercial success and even prompted Rolling Stone magazine to dub Broussard “The heir to Dilbert McClinton”. One visit to any of his many 2009 tour dates listed on his website will remove any doubt.

Broussard’s show seems to come out of nowhere, and envelope you in blues and passion. Before you know it, it’s fully consumed you and you’re hooked.  Despite the drunken karaoke of the man behind me the show had me from the beginning. Reminding me more of a Baptist revival than a concert, the band and Broussard all played with such passion and intensity that you had to wonder if he might collapse at any moment. Marc Broussard

Not taking any credit from his albums- but to really experience what he does you must see him perform live. He’s not a spectacle to behold, but a man on a stage doing the only thing he has ever wanted to do, and he makes you want to enjoy it as much as he does. From start to finish the show was nothing less than amazing. He is truly an act not to be missed and never an artist to be overlooked. With songs filled with passion and the band playing to perfection, you wonder why every show you attend doesn’t feel this way.

Indeed, Broussard has long been known for writing and singing about the world around him. With his first full-length release on Island Records in 2004, Carencro, he took listeners on an aural journey to his hometown of Carencro, Louisiana where he lives with his wife Sonya and three children Gavin, Gibb and Evangeline. As close to his family as he is to his roots, Broussard works hard to keep his family tight knit even though he is on the road a great deal of time. “I know it sounds cliché but distance really does make the heart grow fonder. I try to talk to my family while I’m on the road as much as I possibly can. The kids all know that Daddy is out making a living and they get very excited when they see me on television or hear me on the radio. My wife is amazing and she takes good care of everyone. I couldn’t tell you what our secret is except that we love each other and as far as we can see we don’t have any other option but to make it work.”

Marc BroussardIt wasn’t long after the release of Carencro that Broussard felt his strong connection to his roots challenged by the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Though his hometown was largely untouched, being further north of New Orleans into the state of Louisiana, Broussard saw the vast devastation that hit New Orleans and much of the rest of the Gulf Coast and felt compelled to act. “It was like New Orleans was a completely different place after that,” Broussard reflected.  “All of the life had gone out of it. Nothing was left untouched and it was indescribable how it made everyone in Louisiana feel. It was like a part of our soul was ripped out.”

With this in mind, Broussard released Bootleg to Benefit Victims of Hurricane Katrina, the sales of which went to aide those most affected by the storm. In tandem with this, Marc also founded the Momentary Setback Fund to Benefit Victims of Hurricane Katrina. As if that weren’t enough, Broussard has continued to give back in many ways from undertaking a month-long tour of U.S. military installations in September 2007 to building homes with Habitat for Humanity and donating his service as spokesperson for Louisiana's United Way of Acadiana - all of which contributed to Hard Rock International's decision in 2007 to present Broussard with its "Love All, Serve All" Award in recognition of his multifaceted generosities.

Marc BroussardConsidering all of the acclaim and accolades being heaped at the feet of Marc Broussard of late it would almost be understandable if the smoky voiced Bayou Soul infused singer let it go to his head—or perhaps worse, let it intimidate him, but Broussard remains confident without being cocky. “I’m not worried about what comes next at all,” said Broussard with a smile, “I have plans in the works, but right now I’m focused solely on touring and selling Keep Coming Back to everyone who will listen. I couldn’t be in a better place than I am right now.”

“Atlantic Records has a musical history that lends itself to the music I make and they let me do my thing because they believe in me. My fans believe in me, my family believes in me, my label believes in me, so then how can I not believe in me? Music is in my blood and it has been since I was five years old. I remember singing on the stage with my dad while he played. Nothing can ever change that because it is who I am and who I will always be. As long as they all keep coming back then so will I.”  

Find out more about Marc Broussard at his website www.marcbroussard.com.

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 107 - September 2018
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