Hangin’ with Two Hoots

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By Editor Terry Hagerty

Veteran Austin rockabilly maestro Rick Broussard is like that battery rabbit – he just keeps ticking and rockin’ the house with his arresting originals and eclectic covers of the likes of Leroy Van Dyke, Ricky Nelson, and The Clash. On a balmy Monday night – July 24, 2017 to be precise – Broussard’s Two Hoots and a Holler put on a fervent performance at one of Austin’s best venues –  the Continental Club. In the late 1980s, when I wanted to escape Austin crowds that were already starting to pile up at music venues (restaurants, movie theatres, MOPAC – you name it) by Wednesdays, and certainly by Thursday, I would go out on a Monday night. I was somewhat shocked to find that copious walking space still exists on South Congress at the start of the week…well, after 11 p.m. or so, anyway. I got to see Two Hoots and as I walked to my car afterwards – parked on those new fandangled angled parking slots – I saw I was the only vehicle still left on the far side of the street. I thought I was back in 1982 on South Congress – barely a blip of person about.

Broussard seems to have jettisoned the partying persona that used to add a different kick to his live performances, including his sharp between-song quips. I remember him defiantly calling out “South by So What” at a Hole in the Wall gig – the crowd cheered wildly. And then they kicked into a Ramones’ tune, I believe. Broussard’s bandmates were rockin’ right behind him at The Continental on this Monday evening. They included Chris Sensat on drums, Brendon Bigelow on bass, Mike Molnar on accompanying guitar (changing off leads with Broussard) and steel player Mike Hardwick. His bandmates provided strong backing to the multiple songs Broussard worked through from his fine 2016 album, “Time Has Shown Me.” Particularly, “The Past Is Gone” and “Black Cat Lounge” (a nice 4:06 on the record) sizzled. Like the best of musician/composer/rockers, Broussard just puts his own stamp on his vocals, guitar playing, and performance style that always puts genuine crowd interaction at the top of his list. And they are all professional elements of his performance that are intertwined like twins joined at the spine. He also sometimes looks up toward the rafters as he sings into the microphone. Don’t know if that allows him to better concentrate on the next lyrics, avoid those “Oh yeah, we Are compadres” motions from tipsy types in the crowd, or perhaps he still has a bit of stage nerves. Who cares? Go see Two Hoots soon. Broussard and company are a combination of Sonny James, Merle, early Pete Townsend, Marshal Crenshaw….oh, stop please, one gets the idea. Mainly, Broussard is a killer guitar player and singer. (For more information, see: twohootsandaholler.com for upcoming shows, purchasing albums, ringtones, viewing photos, et al.)