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Keep Coming Back

Marc Broussard

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Album Review

Who would have thought it would take a deal with Atlantic Records to uncover the independent live spirit of Louisiana singer/songwriter Marc Broussard? Broussard drew more than a few raves for his 2007 Vanguard issue S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, but it was still an album covered in studio gimmickry — it tried too hard to sound like an old-school soul record and contained only covers. This time out, it's all original material recorded on two-inch analog tape (Atlantic should release this on vinyl). Broussard uses his road band, and longtime collaborators Justin Tocket and Calvin Turner as co-producers, to knock it out of the park. He employs a couple of Nash Vegas studio aces in keyboardist Tim Akers and guitarist Gary Burnette, the Nashville String Machine, and a seven-piece horn section to enhance the proceedings. LeAnn Rimes and Sara Bareilles sing on one track each to boot. Keep Coming Back is a brash and very present recording rooted in Broussard's arrangements. It was cut in 11 days and the singer claims eight of its songs were first takes. It's drenched in gritty Southern funk, big voiced blue-eyed soul, and swampy blues and rock. He has more in common with singers like Delbert McClinton, Delaney Bramlett, Joe South, and even Daryl Hall than the bizarre comparisons to Al Green and Donny Hathaway he got last time out. The set kicks off with gritty funk as Broussard comes strutting into his lyric in a relaxed but low-down backcountry seductive croon. One can feel the immediacy of the band's presence in the whomp of the snare drums, choppy guitars, and snaky keyboards winding themselves around the blanket of horns (can you say Muscle Shoals?) and a backing chorus that takes it all to party-ville.

"Hard Knocks" is mean with its grooved-out Hendrixian guitar sound and explosive low-end theory bassline and staggered breaks. Broussard's voice is enormous; he can soar above the wall of brass without even trying. The overdubs — done later — add to the sense of presence on the record rather than take it away. "Why Should We Wait," with Bareilles on backing vocals, is a catchy pop-soul tune that should score as a single. It's far from the best thing here, but it's catchy and warm and uncharacteristically innocent. The Rimes duet on "When It's Good" is a solid clue that she should sing in this vein more often. To be truthful, one has seldom heard her this up-front and fearless. Her emotional depth almost steals the show — especially with the whining Dobro playing the blues in the background. But Broussard is no slouch and can emote in the slow ones too, and does — this is like Delaney & Bonnie at their very best. "Another Night Alone" showcases his upper register and ability to croon as well as howl — likewise for "Going Home," which is downright sexy. "Power's in the People" is the political song of the 2008 season, no matter what your party preference. This is the mythical place where War, the Staples, and Bobby Whitlock all meet in the sweaty humid New Orleans night. The references are merely that, and Broussard sounds like himself; Keep Coming Back is a conscious attempt at capturing immediacy for the listener rather than an attempt at retro revisionism. This is modern and sophisticated yet crackling funky Louisiana blue-eyed soul; it should be heard by anyone with a pulse. The only way Broussard can possibly top this set — right now — is to play the whole thing live. [This edition includes a bonus CD.]

Biography

Born: 14 January 1982 in Carencro, LA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The son of Boogie Kings guitarist (and Louisiana Hall of Fame member) Ted Broussard, singer/songwriter Marc Broussard was seemingly destined for a life as a music man. His upbringing in Lafayette, Louisiana, instilled in him an affinity for R&B alongside the Cajun trappings of southern Louisiana. Drawing vocal and stylistic influence from Otis Redding and Brian McKnight while bearing the preternaturally gruff vocals of John Hiatt and Dr. John, Broussard was barely 20 at the time of his first...
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Keep Coming Back, Marc Broussard
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