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Music Review: Lelia Broussard – Masquerade

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After listening to Lelia Broussard’s new album, Masquerade, I kept going back to some of Tom Petty’s lyrics on his 1970s hit duet with Stevie Nicks. On “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” Petty sings, “I know you really want to tell me goodbye … I know you really want to be your own girl.” Well, there’s no need to worry about Lelia Broussard.  She wrote or co-wrote all 10 songs on Masquerade, and she’s also on the radar of Rolling Stone magazine and Atlantic Records. I’d say this Lafayette, Louisiana native is doing fine just being “her own girl” now.

On her fourth major independent release, Lelia Broussard has assembled an album of whimsical, upbeat, and soulful alternative indie pop/rock, along with some carefully worded and moving narrative ballads about finding a balance juggling the demands of her career and the quest for true love. She’s not bitter, though. She effectively conveys the feeling that she wouldn’t want to change a thing, because out of all that experience she’s gained so much self confidence and strength in her convictions. She makes that point clear on songs like “Something True,” “Armor On My Heart,” “Spiderwebs,” and “You’re Not Fooling Anyone.”

Produced by Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, Bess Rogers, Allison Weiss) in New York, Masquerade essentially is built around Ms. Broussard’s acoustic guitar playing and her engaging, sultry, vocals. The arrangements are spiced up with an occasional dose of Romer’s acoustic piano, synthesizer, organ and mellotron playing. It sure helps out a lot when your producer is a masterful keyboard player with a knack for knowing just what instrumentation is needed to enhance a song. Sometimes it is the addition of hand claps (“Satellite”), acoustic piano, mellotron, organ, and the lovely background vocals of Bess Rogers (“Shoot for the Moon”) or the kick drum intros on the dance/pop tunes (“Masquerade” and “Hipster Bitch”)

“Hipster Bitch” was co-written with Rob Fusari (Beyonce, Lady Gaga). It has a Motown-style piano track and pokes some good-natured fun at an older woman who’s drinking Jim Beam and working over the boys at the bar wearing Daisy Duke shorts. Fusari has been quoted as saying, “Lelia is an undeniable talent, in every way. She has it all, amazing voice, great songwriter, and overall, an incredible artist.”

“Shoot for the Moon” is a particularly outstanding track, as it plays up the strength of Lelia Broussard’s voice. Her voice can be quite fragile and haunting at times, but then at a moment’s notice she can bring the big husky power. Her voice has a lot of versatility. She can sing r&b, pop/soul, and rock. Her phrasing can be alternately cute and forceful. In fact, she’s performed some nifty covers of Bruce Springsteen’s (“Dancing in the Dark”) and Beyonce’s (“All the Single Ladies”) at some of her concerts.

Broussard has been selected by Rolling Stone and Atlantic Records to participate in their “Do You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star” contest. It’s fan-driven, and the winner gets to be on the cover of Rolling Stone sometime this summer. The winner will also be awarded a recording contract with Atlantic Records.

I wouldn’t bet against her winning it all. After all, this is a woman who has built a loyal fan base that helped her raise $15,000 for the production of Masquerade. Her YouTube artist page has also recorded over five million views.

The deluxe edition of Masquerade (with bonus tracks) will be released on April 5, 2011. The disc can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and at her web page, www.leliabroussard.com.

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About Carl J. Mancuso

  • G

    Hi stop draggin was released in 1980 and widely played in the early 80’s, not the 70’s.