Music

Marc Broussard: Carencro

Jason MacNeil

Marc Broussard

Carencro

Label: Island
US Release Date: 2004-08-03
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

Marc Broussard comes by way of the Bayou -- Cajun country, namely Louisiana. The youthful singer-songwriter released an independent EP entitled Momentary Setback in 2003 before a major label took note of him. He has worked with a "who's who" of today's safe, radio-friendly performers in Maroon5, the Dave Matthews Band and Tori Amos. But on the flip side he also has played with Willie Nelson and Robert Randolph. His debut album, named after his hometown, features the singer with a gritty, swampy and muddy blues-rock-pop style that has him recalling the likes of Mac Davis and old Delta blues or gospel singers starting off. This is indicated by the almost primal percussion driving "Home", and it's an odd, yet catchy sonic welcome mat. Adding handclaps, keyboards, a deep baritone harmony a lá the Blind Boys of Alabama, Broussard sounds like the real deal here, void of glossy production or studio micro-management. Fans of John Hiatt, Charlie Robison or Bonnie Raitt would enjoy this ditty, as it goes deeper into the funky bog. "This Greyhound is Delta bound", Broussard sings as if he's been doing this for far longer than he actually has.

However, this is just a teaser for this album, as "Rocksteady" is pure pre-packaged pabulum that makes John Mayer seem like a 25-year veteran singer-songwriter who has been covered by everyone but still unknown. The formulaic guitar, the rather bland chorus which 14-year-old girls will lap up with their forty-something parents, and the overall blah factor makes this sink like a stone. "When we get there you better be ready to rocksteady", he sings as the almost yawn-inducing chorus makes you realize that the suits have been involved in this album to some extent. Broussard then tries his hand at the slower, soulful R&B-like "The Beauty Of Who You Are" which isn't bad but isn't great either. You know the direction this is going way before the chorus, as it's basically soul-by-numbers. Vocally he delivers, but it comes off as lacking soul. This pattern continues on the lighter, melodic "Save Me", which is more of an acoustic-folk pop effort that slowly builds over time. Again though, it's pure radio-friendly fodder that will be remembered for a month at best.

Broussard is again guilty of this during "Come Around" which is a tune that Maroon5 might have left off their hit album. Complete with horns that give it more of an old-school-soul-cum-Motown style, Broussard again nails the song vocally. But you get the impression that he's being stifled by the arrangements, not really having enough input into what his greatest strengths are. This song comes close to "Home" in terms of being more than just disposable ear-candy as he scats somewhat during the bridge. However, "Where You Are" resembles Hanson if they were still mired in that ridiculous, asinine "Mmm-Bop" whatever-the-hell-possessed-you era. Fluffy, catchy and something you will forget minutes after listening to it. But just when you've had it up to here with this material, Broussard will lure you back in with a brilliant, slow, hip-hugging "Lonely Night In Georgia". Think of Al Green, or even Jack Black circa High Fidelity, and you'll get the idea. It's perhaps the highlight of the album, as everything fits together for a perfect number, even down to the brief rapid piano playing in the distance as it begins to fade out.

"Saturday" isn't that bad either, although it moves into Mayer-meets-Jack Johnson territory as he sings about "talking without speaking words". The flute usage thoughout could be done without. "The Wanderer" is average at best, and might bring to mind Canada's Great Big Sea without any of the Celtic instrumentation. A banjo does make it more appealing though. Again, the third jewel in this album's crown is the faux-closing "Let Me Leave", another slow soulful ditty with a touch of strings added for a welcomed touch. A hidden track is also here, but you get the idea Broussard could excel if left to his strengths. It would definitely separate him from the rest of this current trendy flock.

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image