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Marc Broussard brings bayou to Bakersfield virtually

Marc Promo Photo

"Bayou soul" musician Marc Broussard will perform Wednesday for Bakersfield listeners via a livestream concert presented by Guitar Master Concert Series and Passing Through Productions.

Marc Broussard’s breakout song “Home” describes almost perfectly where most of us have been for the last year. We’ve either been home, going home or wish we could have a break from being home. Broussard, a 39-year-old walking, breathing, singing and playing powerhouse of "bayou soul" — a mix of funk, blues, R&B, rock and pop — will perform a streaming concert on Wednesday.

The livestreamed concert, a collaboration between the Guitar Masters Concert Series and Passing Through Productions, is a way of keeping live music alive until we can be in the same room together again.

Broussard is really good, having released eight studio albums, one live album, three EPs, and charted twice on Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks. Maybe not a household name star yet, but a star and someone who could follow the Chris Stapleton flight path.

Broussard comes from musicians: His father, Ted Broussard, is a terrific guitarist and a former member of The Boogie Kings.

“My father has been a musician all his life and all his siblings played," the younger Broussard said. "Music was an integral part of our childhood. It was always on in our home, my dad was always listening to music. He practiced a lot and played quite a bit on the weekends."

When Broussard became a musician, he featured his father on his songs. One of his daughters wants to be "a singer and a stay-at-home mom," he said.

Broussard likes having full creative control over his work.

“For 14 years on major labels, I was restricted from being more creative. ... Because there is such a lag time between the record and release, it’s hard to stay motivated,” he said.

His strategy now is to record music, release it quickly and then make more music.

Broussard is also a philanthropist. In 2015, he created the SOS Foundation to raise money for causes about which he is passionate. He’s donated profits from albums to the Atlanta-based organization City of Refuge to assist with people who are struggling with homelessness and poverty with education, training and job placement assistance.

“It should be part of every artist’s body of work because I think that we in this position find ourselves uniquely positioned to affect change,” Broussard said.

Broussard answered additional questions via email:

Favorite collaboration?

It’s a tune called "Raining On Sunday" that I wrote with Brandi Carlile. We happened to write it about two weeks before at least one or two other songs with that or a similar theme were released to massive success. There must be some recording of it somewhere and I think we did it live at least once or twice. It’s a lovely song.

What's the last concert you've played?

Depends on how you define “concert.” We did one of those drive-in shows awhile back in Texas. I was so grateful to see all the people that came out in those 14 cars that showed up. It was humbling, to say the least.

Before COVID, how many concerts were you averaging a year?

Early on, we ran real hard. 175 shows or more. In the last few years, though, we hit a stride that seemed sustainable at around 100 a year.

Tell us about the COVID year for you.

No. No COVID talk. We all know what this last year was like. It was amazing for people who love being in their homes and could afford to do so (like me) and it was hell for everyone else, especially the kids. And the politicians. We should all give the politicians a break, probably. Let them go home and rest for a while.

How have you made ends meet?

At first, it was simply the good will of my audience. They stepped up in April of '20 to secure my first breath of air in weeks. Then some friends with companies that suddenly needed to be severely online called and asked if we could bring-the-party, digitally. Then the fans stepped back in with digital concerts on a platform called Topeka Live.

Are you feeling optimistic about 2021?

Yes.

I saw that your dad played with you on a YouTube video? Does he still?

Teddy B will be playing with me as long as he wants to! And it’s not only one video. There’s a bunch of tunes with me and my dad! And he slays all of them!

Have you done a bunch of virtual concerts over the last year?

I haven’t done enough, to be honest! They’re much different than a typical concert. I get to connect with people in a much deeper way. We get to have a back and forth in between songs where I get to tell them about the origin of the stories and they get to tell me why those songs mean something. Parents, kids, grandkids, husbands and wives have all shared amazing stories with me about how my music has connected them in ways like no other. I feel humbled and honored every single time.

Herb Benham is a columnist for The Bakersfield Californian and can be reached at hbenham@bakersfield.com or 661-395-7279.

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