Devouring Marc Broussard’s major-label debut is akin to eating a plate of nouvelle southern cuisine at P. Diddy’s joint in Atlanta: there are plenty of down-home favorites on the menu, but the chef has updated grandma’s recipes into unmistakably modern concoctions. Musically speaking, Broussard has tricked out his South Louisiana sound with more worldly ingredients; on the breezy “Saturday” the gumbo includes a lighthearted flute riff, while his soulful moaning on “Let Me Leave” rides atop a programmed string section.
It’s easier to take in single tracks than digest Carencro in one sitting. The album’s opener, simply titled “Home,” is also its meatiest, Broussard growling the autobiographical lyrics like a younger Tony Joe White, as fellow Acadian Sonny Landreth lays down a mean slide-guitar solo. When Broussard hollers the prophetic verse “My daddy turned his face up towards the sky / And I knew that there was nothing to lose,” over a thundering Wurlitzer riff, you can almost envision the storm moving up the bayou for an impromptu baptism.
Two lyrical threads run through the album: Broussard’s personal experiences on tour, which come across in meditative tracks like “Home,” “Where You Are” and “The Wanderer,” and his passion for writing about frivolous teenage love affairs, which dominates songs like “Rocksteady” and “Save Me.” Life on the road has provided Broussard with some weighty subjects, making his lighter material sound all the more saccharine. And his vocal talents—particularly strong on “The Beauty Of Who You Are,” where he soars like Marvin Gaye—prove Broussard needn’t settle for becoming the next John Mayer.
Broussard samples everything on the menu, including alt.country (“Hope For Me Yet,” a collaboration with Radney Foster) and funk (the delicious “Come Around,” which is peppered with organ chords and horn blasts), before reaching “Let Me Leave,” Carencro’s closing number. Crooning the line “Let me be who I am,” he finally sinks his teeth into the heart of the matter—but for this 11-course meal, the sentiment might not arrive until after you’ve already called to your server, “Check, please.”