Even before the release of his first full-length, Down At the End of the Bar (2009), your humble Austin Music Minute maven became 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, all with the humorous observations of a world-weary troubadour. It’s Rondeau’s lyricism that ropes you in. That feller down at the end of the bar knows how to tell a tale or two. Or seventeen.
With this year’s release, Take It and Break It, he pushes the envelope further by embracing country, a touch of bluegrass, a bit of Cajun (major tip o’ the hat to that accordion on “Alligator Man”), and full-on rock ‘n’ roll. Another superb, multifaceted gem showing the many sides of this talented artist, with equal parts biting wit and fragile vulnerability.
Do yourself a favor and catch Leo Rondeau tonight at midnight at The White Horse, 500 Comal St. Totally worth staying out late for. If you make a night of it, get there for a happy hour performance by folk/country/punk renegade Robert Allan Caldwell at 7 p.m., followed by rockabilly rebel John Evans at 10 p.m. Recommended.