We recently spoke to Marc on his current tour. We were impressed with his candor and professionalism and we got some insights on his upcoming works. You can see the entire Austin Photo Gallery when he was in town to play the Music and Memories Event– a fundraiser benefiting Alzheimer’s Texas – at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.
How did you get involved in the Music & Memories Gala in Austin for Texas Alzheimer’s? Did you know Matt prior?
I didn’t know Matt prior to the event, but he was a fan of my music, from what I understand. We were very delighted to be invited to play by the gala.
You were so nice at the Meet and Greet with folks- taking selfies and such- are those fun for you?
They are fun for me. Sure, sometimes I have to wade through a sea of drunkards who only came to the show because someone dragged them out. These are the kind that no nothing about me or my business yet make the earnest attempt to give me advice. But then you get to the real sincerity and meet someone who tells you of how your music has impacted their lives. Those stories are fuel for me and let me know that I’m living within my purpose.
I read you keep in touch with family while you’re on the road by Skype. Has technology helped you/musicians when they have to be away on tour? Have your wife and kids gotten use to it or is it hard each time you’re gone? How does she manage 4 kids-do you have family nearby that can help?
Technology has absolutely revolutionized they way we stay in touch from the road. I can actually still be part of the discipline process by video chatting. I look straight into the camera so that my kid on the other end thinks I’m looking into their eyes. It works! My wife is a saint. It’s gotten harder and harder over the years to leave. My girls, especially, give me such a hard time about leaving and beg me to stay every time.
I can’t help notice your look has evolved. What prompted the new look and growing the beard?
My wife asked me to grow it out and I did. She liked it so it stays.
I see your tour is scheduled through Spring next year, how do you do it? What are your ‘stay sane’ secrets and how do you continue to be motivated at the end of a run?
I’ve been most fortunate to have surrounded myself with amazing men and women while on tour all these years. Having a good crew to roll out with is hugely important when you travel as much as I do. Days off on tour are especially relaxing when you have a crew willing to spend it grilling at a camp ground.
Do you have a favorite city or venue to play? Why?
For years, Irving Plaza in New York City held a special place in my heart. It was the first place I played in the city and the show was sold out. Everybody was there by the time I hit the stage and the room was electric. Very exciting stuff for a simple southern boy.
What collaborations have you done or planning that excite you?
I have a side project that I’m very excited about but I’d rather not go into great detail just yet.
With talent in so many different music genres, it’s hard to describe sometimes, it’s so complex. What is Bayou Soul?
I don’t know, really. I didn’t come up with that term. When people ask me, I usually say I play soul or rhythm and blues music. I just go with what I know or what I’m inspired by without paying too much attention to how conducive a son might be when viewed in league with my other material.
You are such a talented songwriter, have you written much for other artists?
I’ve not written much for others but that’s going to change as time goes on, I hope.
I see you were raised in a very small town in Louisiana. What was that like? Was your family close?
Yes. We’re still very close. My mom and dad live across the street from me and my brother is just down the street in the other direction about 300 yards. My nephew spends as much time at my house as my kids spend at my brother’s.
Do you speak French? It’s so common in the area where you were raised, right?
The history of Cajun French is a sordid affair. In short, the language was almost eradicated completely 2 generations ago by overzealous, Yankee school teachers who were under strict orders to keep the language out of the school. My grandparents would tell stories about being reprimanded harshly for employ their native tongue. Luckily, there’s been a bit of a renaissance regarding the language and customs inherent to the region. While I do not speak it fluently, many of my friends do and are doing the heavy lifting of passing it all on to another generation.
Your dad is a famous musician – what was that like and how did it spark your ambition? Do you play together much? I love the Steamroller Blues video-would love to see more of that.
My dad is a phenomenal musician. He’s always fostered my love of music and he gave me a solid foundation. We still play together several times a year and we’ve got shows on the books now. I’d like to write and record a proper father and son duet at some point soon.
I read recently that you started out in a Christian band. Talk about that a bit and does it still influence your life, your songwriting?
Right after High School, I got a job as music minister for a local church. The job came with accommodations provided and I found myself living with a couple of guys who were also musicians. Naturally, we all decided to start a band. It lasted about 8 months. I’m still friends with all those guys and we actually all hung out recently. I’m still very influenced by my faith.
The new album is SOS 2- talk about this revisit to the first SOS.
While the first SOS was born out of necessity, SOS 2 was born out of a desire to take the profits previously earmarked for my record labels and shift that money into philanthropy. I love singing all those old songs so the project is quite enjoyable for me, as well.
I’m listening to the new Christmas album “Magnolias & Mistletoe”. Can you talk about the album?
After 13 years of making records, we all felt like it was time to put out a holiday album. We wanted to keep it simple and not too over-produced. After we picked out the tunes, we wrote a couple more for good measure and made the record. Now, when Christmas comes around, my fans have a new playlist to put on.
I love your Twitter profile photo -did someone sketch that?
Yes. A friend of mine reached out to an artist and commissioned the work.
Your recent social media post of ‘wanting to be an afterthought as an artist’- can you give us a little insight into this?
The same way that a song during a pivotal moment in a film can gently augment or give weight to a scene, I want my music to affect my listeners. I want to be the soundtrack to life. I’ve written songs that are appropriate for every mood, hopefully. I want my music to be that old friend that just makes everything alright again without giving you too much of an admonition.
Coming from LA, did you go to Mardi Gras in NOLA?
My mom’s sister lived in New Orleans when I was growing up. We’d go to her house every year to take in at least one or two parades. She makes the best king cakes!
Have you ever been to Muscle Shoals?
Yes. Once. There was a festival there that we played. I did not get enough time in the Shoals, though. Planning a pilgrimage with my oldest son.