Even before the release of Down At the End of the Bar (2009), I found myself hooked on Leo Rondeau‘s style. The Austin-based songwriter, by way of North Dakota, appealed to my cynical side with his stories of amor – and all the damn trouble it gets you into. His album offered the skeptical yet humorous observations of a world-weary troubadour, all done in a perfect mix of traditional country and Americana, and a bit of bluegrass. I’ll admit, though, that it was Rondeau’s lyricism that roped me in. That feller down at the end of the bar knows how to tell a tale or two. Or seventeen.
Now Rondeau offers more of that wanderer’s wit and wisdom with the highly-anticipated Take It and Break It, kicking things up a notch with more country and that irresistible twang (hands down, “Here’s My Heart), sneaking in a touch of bluegrass (“Right In the Middle”), a bit of Cajun (tip o’ the hat to that accordion on “Alligator Man”), and yes, even rock ‘n’ roll (“Bound To Be A Winner” and the guitar work on “Far Away”). Another superb, multifaceted album with great variety throughout.
To celebrate the release, Leo Rondeau is having a show tonight at The White Horse, 500 Comal St. He and his band will play the entire album, from beginning to end. Sounds like a winner to me. The bill also features two other awesome sets by Ramsay Midwood and The Austin Steamers. Get there early to see the Steamers kick off the night at 7 p.m. Gon’ be a party down there. Highly recommended.