450 Franklin Street, Rocky Mount VA 24151 - 540-484-8277

Marc Broussard w/ The Jamie McLean Band / Grant Stinnett

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Marc Broussard w/ The Jamie McLean Band / Grant Stinnett
Saturday, January 28, 2017 7:45 PM
Harvester Performance Center, Rocky Mount, VA
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  • Ticket Price: $32.00 - $36.00
  • Door Time: 7:00 PM
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$32 in advance, $36 Day of Show

Marc Broussard

In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and raised, and its thematic centerpiece was a hickory-smoked slab of Bayou soul called “Home.” That album and the three that followed revealed Broussard as an old-school Southern soul singer blessed with a rarefied gift and innate stylistic and emotional authenticity, causing the L.A. Times to rave, “The guy can really sing, with power, nuance and class. Anybody got a phone book? I’d listen to him hum a few pages.” Those records also evidenced Broussard’s maturation into a songwriter of uncommon eloquence, fashioning the indigenous idioms of his native region into compelling personal testimony.

Now, a decade after his critical breakthrough, Broussard has come full circle with A LIFE WORTH LIVING his sixth studio album, a celebration of what home means to him, starting with his wife and kids, the street he’s lived on his entire life, surrounded by loved ones, and all the minutiae of everyday life that he has come to treasure.

“Home definitely has a lot to do with this album,” he confirms. “But family has a lot to do with it as well, and those two go hand in hand. The infrastructure of family is really important, especially when you have four kids. Luckily I’ve got family that I’ve been able to lean on throughout all these years. Then,on top of it all, this place is just special. There’s a different way of living, a different way of communicating and a different way of celebrating life here that is infectious. And once you realize it, you never want to leave.”

Broussard signals his intentions with the cover portrait, which pictures him with his wife and kids sitting on the steps of a neighbor’s house, instruments in hand, persuasively conveying the notion that the family that plays together stays together. That touching photograph, which recalls Norman Rockwell’s heartwarming images of home and hearth, leads the listener into a song cycle that brings those traditional American values to vivid life, a linked series of ballads and deep-gut soul-rockers with revealing titles like “Edge of Heaven,” “Another Day,” “Weight of the World,” “Perfect to Me” and “Shine.” These songs, some intimate and others churning with intensity, like the kickass blues-rockers “Dyin’ Man” and “Man Ain’t Supposed to Cry,” chart the full range of concerns and emotions of a husband, father and provider as he experiences the joys and sorrows of existence.

“Whether it’s because I’m older and a little more perceptive, or whether it was just the right time, I find myself with a set of songs that really means the world to me,” Broussard says with pride. “The lion’s share of the material on this record is extremely personal. There are decades of stories behind a single line in any of these songs. In that way alone, it’s vastly different than anything I’ve done before. There was much more attention to detail; I feel like I’ve become a more focused writer.”

From the charged metaphor of the opening track and lead single “Hurricane Heart” to the closing existential lament “I’ll never Know,” Broussard gets really close to the bone on this record—so close, in fact, that there seems to be no distance between himself and these songs, each of them drawn from the very fabric of his life; it’s as if they’re being transmitted from his heart and soul directly to the listener. That’s particularly true of the poignant title piece.

“It was a rare occurrence to have a song that just kind of wrote itself,” Broussard says of “A Life Worth Living.” “It felt like I was the conduit more than the writer, that I received this thing. It happened right after the passing of my grandmother. She was sick, and she decided not to fight the cancer, which is indicative of her style—she lived by her own rules. My mother’s mother was the matriarch of this wonderful, massive family. Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana at the same time that she was passing away, and because it was such a sudden thing—we found out she had cancer and three weeks later she was gone—we were all left speechless. I felt like someone needed to say something and luckily the whole thing laid itself out in front of me.

“That’s one of two songs on this record that came to me this way,” Broussard continues. “The other one is ‘Give ’Em Hell.’ It’s about a friend of mine, Squirrel we called him, who was the head of the English department at a Jesuit high school in New Orleans. This guy was a brilliant writer, and one of my favorite people of all time. Squirrel passed away suddenly from a heart condition last April, and that led to another song that just hit me. I sat right up in bed and heard the first line.

“My grandmother passed away at the end of the summer of 2012, and Squirrel passed away in the spring of last year, so those two songs buttressed the entire writing process for this record,” he notes. “I felt both my grandmother and Squirrel’s presence coaxing me through every line, through every tear that rolled down my face as I wrote. Both were extremely emotional to write because I knew how gut-wrenching every line was going to be. So surrendering to the process was very difficult, but incredibly cathartic in the end.”

The album’s other linchpin song is “Honesty,” which, like “A Life Worth Living” and “Give ’Em Hell,” began with an epiphany. “‘Honesty’ was born out of an experience I had listening to a song called ‘Don’t Tell All My Friends About Me,’ by a brilliant guy named Blake Mills,” Broussard recalls. “That song had a profound effect on me in that it was so brutally honest it couldn’t be denied. For a long, long time, I’ve avoided writing about the darker side of relationships and love for fear of offending my wife’s sensibilities. But after I heard that song, I said to myself, ‘I can’t do that anymore. I’m not gonna allow myself to be stifled; I need to be able to write whatever I’m feeling.” So I had a talk with my wife and let her know that none of this stuff was really that personal, and all she needed to do was focus on how we are to each other. Then I proceeded to open myself up. So ‘Honesty’ is really the quintessence of this new spirit in my writing.

A LIFE WORTH LIVING marks Broussard’s return to Vanguard, which released 2007’s SOS: Save Our Soul, his scintillating album of covers of Southern soul classics.

“Luckily, I’m with a company that recognizes opportunities and is nimble and agile enough to make moves on it when they present themselves,” says Broussard. “All of the things that I needed to happen for me to feel confident about this project have come together. It’s put me in a really good head space. I’m really looking forward to the future, and there’s no end in sight, that’s the thing. We’ve got ideas that are fresh, and a team that’s really excited about implementing those ideas. I’m poised for some big things, hopefully, right here.”

With that, Broussard eases himself back into the unhurried rhythm of life in Carencro. The next order of business: dropping off a cookie cake baked by his wife to his daughter’s first-grade class at the neighborhood elementary school. 

Jamie McLean Band

  Jamie McLean had a big decision to make in 2006. He could continue to tour the globe as the guitarist for New Orleans’ famed Dirty Dozen Brass Band playing sets at Madison Square Garden, Bonnaroo and Japan’s Fuji Rock. Or he could do it his way, take the road less traveled and begin to lead Jamie McLean Band. It seemed as though there was only one option.“It was certainly a tough choice to leave my bread and butter gig but I could feel it in my heart that I needed to be singing and recording and performing my own music. I’ve never been happier!”
For the last 5 years McLean have been relentlessly touring and recording with Jamie McLean Band which also features Brian Griffin on drums and Ben Mars on bass. Jamie McLean Band has released 3 full-length albums, Completely (2010), American Heartache (2008), This Time Around (2006) and are set to release an astounding 4 EPs in 2011!
2010 was the band’s busiest year to day as they hit the road with the likes of Gregg Allman, Drive By Truckers, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Blues Traveler, North Mississippi Allstars, Joan Armatrading, Jackie Greene, and Gov’t Mule. Jamie Mclean Band appeared at festivals such as Mountain Jam, Gathering of the Vibes, Bele Chere, Sweetwater Festival, Warren Haynes’ Christmas Jam and Great Woods Music to name a few. McLean also released a video documentary “From The Bottom Up”, and has enjoyed the sponsorship of Gibson Guitars, Blue Microphones, John Varvatos and Esquire Magazine.
Jamie McLean Band is now set to release an astounding set of 4 EPs in 2011! These “Electric Postcards” will feature themed recordings such as Electric, Acoustic, Covers and a live release.
“We really wanted to find a way to get our fans more music more often. I wanted to steer clear of a typical album release cycle where we only put out an album every couple of years. We are excited to stretch ourselves musically and I think it’s a great way to get the most amount of new music possible to our fans.”
The first EP “Time Of My Life” released on March 3rd with an official New York City release party presented by rock and roll fashion mogul John Varvatos. “Time Of My Life” features the core electric trio pumping out their brand of original roots, downtown rock and roll, country and swampy soul. The title track and first single “Time Of My Life” kicks off the upbeat, party atmosphere. It sounds as if ZZ Top, AC/DC and Tom Petty are throwing the best backyard barbecue in town.
Recorded by Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Phish, Ben Kweller) and mixed by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Drive By Truckers, The Hold Steady) the sessions were purposely kept very live, raw and spontaneous.
“When we started pre production I made it clear to our producer Bryce Goggin that we wanted these recordings to sound more like a live band than a studio band. We wanted to have everyone in the same room with the amps cranked up! We kept the same philosophy throughout mixing and mastering and I’m thrilled with the results!”
Jamie McLean Band will support “Time Of My Life” as well as the rest of the 4 EP collection with a string of tour dates around the country. Be sure to catch the band live to feel the raw energy that they bring to the stage!

Grant Stinnett