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Built to last - Rick Broussaard brings some rockabilly to Casbeers

When Rick Broussard formed Two Hoots and a Holler in the early '80s, this country was experiencing a renewed flirtation with rockabilly. The Stray Cats had managed to wedge ducktails and double-basses between the twee Euro-sophistication of Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. But the rockabilly of the Stray Cats was, as they proudly proclaimed on their biggest album, Built For Speed, not for endurance. They were earnest and energetic to be sure, but they were also cartoonishly nostalgic, cementing for a new generation the notion that rockabilly was locked in a 1950s time-warp defined by malt shops, sock hops, and greaser rumbles.

Rockabilly was never like that for Broussard. He approached it as contemporary music that could incorporate any number of bedrock American forms, and he played it with the kind of fire and ferocity you would expect from someone who found his inspiration at the Sex Pistols' infamous 1978 Randy's Rodeo gig. A masterful country crooner, twang-guitar virtuoso and feral showman, he's been the gold standard for Austin roots music ever since he left San Antonio for the Capital City (one of the prime examples of the Austin music scene cashing a check that SA wrote).

Rick Broussard's Two Hoots and a Holler

Sat, July 23

1719 Blanco
He's also battled a long-term propensity for chemical excess, a battle which he managed to win in 2002. It's telling that his new album, simply titled Rick Broussard's Two Hoots and a Holler (with a cover design modeled on the Clash's London Calling) opens with an old Broussard classic, the spry rocker "Step Fast." An ode to his muse and the virtues of living for today, this song found Broussard at his hellbent-for-action best in its 1991 original version. The second time around, Broussard sounds slightly cautious, vaguely wary of the dangers that come with stepping too fast. But that doesn't mean he'll be slowing down anytime soon.

- Gilbert Garcia

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