Marc Broussard Discusses Latest Album, Easy to Love

Marc Broussard On the Challenges of Work-Life Balance for Today’s Touring Musicians

In a more just universe, Marc Broussard would be a superstar. But, you don’t need me to tell you about what’s fair and what’s not. Suffice it to say, the Louisiana soul singer is a gift to the music-loving public, and on the eve of his latest release, Easy to Love, I had an opportunity to catch up with the artist, the family man and the world traveler for the first time in over six years. Easy to Love is a more rootsy, country-tinged affair, yet doesn’t betray Broussard’s own roots. It’s (no pun intended) an easy record to love for both seasoned fans and newcomers alike, and posed interesting creative challenges during its production.

What was the genesis of the new record and its slight departure from your typical sound?

Well, it started last year after I put out my last record [S.O.S. II], we started to talk about getting back in the studio for another project. And initially, the project was just to write and record some new material that we could get film and TV placements for. So, it wasn’t, at the outset, a project for an original record.

We were on tour last October on the West Coast and decided to take a couple days off and do some songwriting. We got a nice little Airbnb through a friend in Carmel and set up for a few days in a room, writing songs like it was the last thing we were ever gonna do (laughs). And we managed to turn out seven songs from that batch. After all was said and done, I felt really strongly about the material we had written, like it could stand up on record. As far as economics go, we thought if were gonna go into the studio to record this stuff anyway, we might as well make a release out of it.  That’s really where this project started…

When you’re in that room, what does the songwriting process look like for you?

That writing session, which is indicative of most of the sessions which I’ve done, was with my co-producer Jim McGorman. And the guys in the band were kind of available for help. So, we just sit around with a couple of guitars, throwing ideas at each other. Because the project was mine, I was kind of the gatekeeper for ideas we were gonna chase down and others that we’d disregard. Eventually, we all get excited about a particular theme or lyric and start chasing it down. And one by one, we fire of ideas and it’s kind of a “by committee” thing. I think everyone is pretty aware when we’ve got the right one and it’s time to move on…

For you, how does the process then work when you take those songs to the studio?

Sometimes the songs really just write themselves and record themselves. There are loads of songs where the production is very straightforward. It’s taking the mood and the melody…other times, I’ll get really inspired after having some time with a song and hearing it play out in my head I’ll get some ideas about how I want to record it.  And plenty of times we get into the studio with no plans whatsoever. And once again, by committee, we home in on an approach. So, there’s really no one way to record a song.

For this new one, you recorded in sort of a guerilla fashion. Is that a stressful way to put together a record?

You know, if you asked me ten years ago I would have said yes. But I don’t put as much stock in the actual records as I used to…I care about the songs more than I care about the recordings.  In fact, every single one of my records, if I could go back in time, I’d re-sing [them]. I’ve grown accustomed to being slightly dissatisfied with little bits here and there on every single one of my records…

Is it because you think there are actually things wrong, or are you just a perfectionist?

I would say it’s a mixture. A vocal like “Home,” for example, from my first record – when I listen to it now, I hear a young man trying very hard to sing that song. Very hard. There’s a whole character I put on [in that song] for some reason that I find displeasing, personally…

But isn’t there an earnestness that enhances the authenticity of the song, when you’re young like that?

I’d have to agree…that performance, whatever I think of it, definitely touched people and made impressions that gave me my first foothold in this business. That song is still the climax of the show. But like I said, there are little bits or entire passages that I’d re-sing on records of mine—

But you get to do that in concert, re-sing and re-interpret the songs, right?

Exactly! So, the guerilla recording style is really very natural for a guy who plays as many shows as I do. We’re always out there working, so we’re playing that show on the East Coast and the next weekend we’re on the West Coast. And in the meantime, we’re gonna cut the record down here in Louisiana, and a month from now we’ll be at another studio. And we’ll send Jim home with the track, and he’ll head back to the West Coast and cut some guitar or bass, and background vocals. And we’ll come back together to finish it all up to get it all mastered. It really felt very natural, believe it or not.

Like you said, you’re on the road quite a bit. As a family man, how do you balance the career and home life?

I do tend to use the opportunities to take my wife along with me. It’s not as luxurious as a retreat type of vacation because I have to work, but it gives my wife an opportunity to get away. It’s very difficult, and I’m hyper-aware…my chief desire when I come off the road is to be inside the house. And my wife is exactly the opposite (laughs). She wants to be out with me, reconnect with me. So it’s very difficult, there’s a lot of push and pull there.

When you’re off the road, is it hard to detach from the music?

Stepping away from the music itself is virtually impossible. Give me about 30 seconds of pure silence [at home] and entire scores will start playing out in my head. You know?

Let’s circle back to the new record. Was there a conscious effort to take the sound in a new direction or genre?

Well, I think that the lead single and a few of the singles that come out are gonna demonstrate that really, this record is very similar to my other records in that it’s not very genre specific…

It’s funny, you remind me a lot of those early Randy Newman records, in that it’s really hard to assign them a genre. It’s just music, and the words fall out of you so effortlessly that you kind of forget that it’s even supposed to have a genre. Yes, there are soul leanings, but once you get into it, it’s just music. And I feel that way about [Newman], as well…

I feel like I’m really a folk singer… I try real hard not to think too hard about the style of music I’m writing and instead focus on the sincerity.

 

Marc Broussard – Easy to Love

Standout Track: “Don’t Be Afraid to Call Me”

Follow on Twitter @MarcBroussard

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