Broussard brings southern comfort to listeners

Brendan McCarthy

Thirty miles outside Birmingham, Ala., calling from an Izuzu Rodeo that’s been up and down the East Coast and throughout the Midwest, Marc Broussard says, “We’re just having a great time.”

The night before, he and bassist Calvin Turner opened for Novafest alumni The Clarks and Antigone Rising at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. It was the last show on a tour that began in early February, supporting The Clarks, O.A.R. and Maroon 5. Broussard’s soulful music, accentuated by a robust voice, has been gaining recognition over the last two months.

The 21-year-old grew up in Carencro, a town deep in Louisiana’s Cajun country. Raised on more than just jambalaya and crawfish, Broussard was exposed to music at an early age by his father Ted, a Louisiana Hall of Fame guitarist. On stage at the early age of five, Marc was bred to love music. He was given a guitar when he was 11, and immediately began penning songs.

Ten years later, in 2002, Broussard released his debut album, “Momentary Setback.” The CD features eight tracks ranging from the catchy tunes of “Gotta Be More” and “The Wanderer,” to the deeply soulful “French Café” and “My God.” The album reflects Broussard’s Cajun roots.

“It’s such an amazing culture with an amazing vibe, it has a huge influence,” Broussard says. Broussard also credits Martin Sexton, George Benson, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding as artists who have shaped his music.

There is a distinct difference between the sounds of Broussard in the studio and his performance on stage. Broussard says he wants to become a top-notch live artist. While he would like to be known for his live performance, Broussard says, “the live show is a completely different animal.” At a live concert, music is played how it’s meant to be, imperfect and full of emotion.

Broussard strips his heavily- produced music down to a simple acoustic guitar and bass creating such an atmosphere. Standouts from the show include a slower version of his album’s lead-off track “Wanderer” and “Just Like That,” where The Clarks lead guitarist John Smith accompanies the duo with an electric.

Later that night, The Clarks returned the favor by inviting Broussard and Turner on stage for a show-ending, rendition of Gaye’s classic, “Let’s Get it On.”

Broussard loves to perform, describing an on-stage experience as “real, intimate and dynamic.” The Trocadero was just that on Friday night. Broussard and Turner play off each other in a spontaneity that only the stage allows. Despite being the first of three bands to play, Broussard feeds off the energy of a crowd that is there to hear new things. “I think we have more of an impact as a duo rather than a band,” says Broussard, adding that any crowd is going to respect two guys rocking it out on stage. “We try to create a wall of sound with just two guys.”

What is most promising of Broussard is his soulful voice. He brings an unbridled emotion to the stage that is absent from a Howie Day or John Mayer-type performer. Thus, Broussard is able to capture the essence of pop, soul and blues in his half-hour performance.

On a tour that has been “a first for everything” for this young singer/songwriter, Broussard is taking things in stride. With the inevitable ups and downs of a musician trying to make it on his own, Broussard performs with the mantra that “sometimes the stage will bite you, and you’ve got to bite back.” This seems to be working, seeing as a few major record labels have already expressed interest in having a share in his bright future.

Broussard is taking a much-needed break from touring, playing at a few local gigs with his father and Martin Sexton, another one of Broussard’s influences. While the band has no immediate plans to return to Philadelphia, Broussard will be touring with Matt Nathanson in May. For more details about Broussard, his tour schedule and downloads of live songs, go to