Quick Hit

Marc Broussard

November 13, 2008|By Rashod D. Ollison

Lately, an affected retro soul sound has garnered platinum sales and Grammy Awards for British acts such as Duffy and Amy Winehouse.

But Marc Broussard, a boyish-faced Louisiana native, manages to add an emotional depth to his approach, giving his throwback soul an inviting immediacy and a lived-in feel. His voice is warm and rugged, slightly frayed around the edges. It's a sound that belies his 26 years. It's also a sound that has garnered critical kudos, if not big sales.

Broussard imbues his soul-pop hybrid with a blues-suffused richness seldom heard in modern pop. Keep Coming Back, his new album and debut for Atlantic Records, sounds as if it could have been recorded in Muscle Shoals, Ala., circa 1972. On it, the singer-songwriter wails original songs that were deeply inspired by his last CD, 2007's S.O.S. (Save Our Soul), an album of R&B covers from the '60s and '70s. Broussard headlines Rams Head Live tonight.

In what ways do you feel the new album is different from your previous forays into soul music?

I think it's a natural progression. I've done a big, old L.A. pop record. I was on Island Records, a major label, before the last record. On this record, we wanted to get down to the grit of what we do on stage. I feel real good about the songs we did on this.

Your last album came out on an indie. Has the switch to Atlantic changed your direction in any way?

Man, you can never associate the business with the art. If I was so worried about how the label felt about the music, I wouldn't be the artist I am. Signing to a record label is a means to an end. They give us money to record an album so that we can go on tour. The touring is our business; it's how we make our money, really. I'm just trying to stay as present as possible.

How did working on S.O.S. prepare you for another major-label deal?

It gave record-label types an inside to what we can do ourselves. We were able to turn in a really good project with limited resources.

You recorded the new album straight to analog tape. Isn't it just easier, especially these days, to use digital regardless of the style of music you're doing?

Well, there are so many things you can do with analog that you can't do with digital. You get a broader spectrum of sound and don't have to use so many instruments. With analog, it fattens everything up. Even the spaces between the sounds are fat and add something. We don't have to do a whole lot of extra [stuff]. It sounds better and puts the musicians on their toes because you can't waste tape.

if you go

Marc Broussard performs tonight at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $22. Call 410-244-1131 or go to tickets.ramsheadlive.com.

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