Dauphin Island’s SeaGrass Concert Series continues with another stellar show. Last time, the concert was held in the antiquated walls of Fort Gaines. For this installment, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo site was chosen. According Lynne Browne, executive director of the South Mobile County Tourism Authority, changing venues for each concert allows visitors to experience live music at a variety of locations in SoMo.
She also drops hints that the concert series could quickly evolve into a full festival. For this installment, locals Lisa Mills and Ryan Balthrop will open up the show, Amanda Shires will follow and the headlining acts are Jason Isbell and Marc Broussard.
Broussard has been busy touring both solo and with Southern Soul Assembly. For SeaGrass, Broussard will give local fans a taste of his latest album “A Life Worth Living.” When Broussard spoke with Lagniappe, he explained that this album is both a slight departure from his Bayou Soul repertoire and a deeply personal artistic movement.
SC: Last we heard from you, you were out on the road with Southern Soul Assembly. What was that experience like?
MB: That’s been done now for quite awhile. I’ll be going back out with them in November. We took a little East Coast run in April of this year. It was a dream come true. It was the best shows and an unbelievable experience for me. I had never met J.J. (Grey), and I didn’t know Luther (Dickinson). Anders (Osborne) and I were acquaintances, at that point. We all threw down hard, man. We just enjoyed each other’s company both on and off stage, and we made a commitment to see this thing further. So, we’ll take off in November for a West Coast tour and hopefully, we’ll hit the studio together in the spring of next year.
SC: The last time that we spoke, you were on your first album, and it was the first time that you had ever played in the Mobile Bay area. I know this is always a generic question, but it’s been a long time since we’ve talked. How would you compare life now to back then?
MB: Aw, man! I think that if I saw that kid from 10 years ago today, then I would probably punch that guy square in the nose.
MB: Yeah, that guy was just stupid. He didn’t have any vision for his artistry or life.
SC: With that said, how would you describe the guy now?
MB: I would describe the guy now as being a lot more thoughtful and a lot more compassionate to all the people around him, whether it be a stranger or the woman that he’s married to. I was just young and stupid eight years ago. I had dreams of grandeur that I had no ability to wrap my head around and the consequences of that dream or the work that it took to achieve it.
SC: You’re touring in support of your latest album “A Life Worth Living.” First, tell me who that is on the cover with you?
MB: That’s my wife and our four kids together.
SC: You definitely can’t deny those children.
MB: They’re my brood!
SC: What was it like putting this album together?
MB: I met up with this guy named Paul Moak, who ended up producing the record. I met with him, and we hit it off in a big way. We wrote a song called “Honesty” that I had actually tried to write with a bunch of different writers at that point, to no avail. I finally met with Paul, and he and I just knocked that song straight out of the park. It was immediately clear to me that he was the guy for the job. It wasn’t a hard sell for the record label to get on board with that idea. We just got in the studio, and I would write in the day with various writers in Nashville. Then, I would go to the studio in the evening and cut the songs that I had written with myself, Paul, and Devin Vaughan, who is an assistant engineer at Paul’s studio, and a drummer. Once that phase was done and the slower tracks were done, we put a session together with some players like Tom Bukovac (guitar), Chad Gilmore (drums) and Tony Lucido (drums) and myself. We spent three days tracking the rest of the record. It was a really different experience. Most of my albums, you hire a band, and you track them. So, this was a very different vibe for me, but nonetheless, it was an amazing experience. Working with Paul was a blessing. The guy is an unbelievable musician and a tireless worker when it comes to ideas.
SC: You’re the daddy of “Bayou Soul.” Tell me how it comes out on this one.
MB: You know, I guess it’s Bayou Soul in terms that it was created just for me. I pulled from whatever I considered Bayou Soul. It has a bit of soul on it. There’s a song called “Man Ain’t Supposed to Cry” that’s got some old soul. The rest of the record is influenced by more modern flairs. There’s a guy called Blake Mills that I heard, and it really kinda grabbed me. There’s a song he’s got that’s called “Don’t Tell My Friends About Me.” It punched me right in the gut with its honesty. I tried to make this album really, really honest. I also decided to not stray away from the darker side of love and relationships, and I had for a long, long time, just to avoid offending my wife’s sensibilities. I had a talk with the wife and let her know that it’s me being an artist and shedding some of this stuff that I had in the back-pocket for a long time. It was feelings that I had brought out on paper but never put it on tape. So, this album is a lot darker than my other albums. The writing process was influenced by the death of my grandmother and the death of a really good friend of mine. All this led to me pushing out all this darker energy in my writing.
SC: Sounds like it was very therapeutic and a release.
MB: It was. By the time I was finished with Southern Soul Assembly and looking at the release of this record, I was already past that state of mind. I really had to fall in love with my record again, because I was so beyond that state of mind.
SC: You tour all over the place as both a solo act and with Southern Soul Assembly. You’ve always been really good to us, and you always come back to visit on a regular basis. What keeps you coming back to the Mobile area?
MB: Anybody who roots for the Who Dats has got my vote! That goes real big in my book, brother! I love Mobile a lot. Mobile is a fantastic city. It’s one of my favorite cities to walk. The food is fantastic, and the people are all sweet as can be, and the fans always show up. So, we keep coming back.
SeaGrass Concert Series
Date: Sat., Aug. 30 with gates at noon
Venue: Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo site, 531 LeMoyne Drive, www.visitsomo.com
Tickets: $40 at The First Bank, ACP Realty and through Eventbrite