Take It and Break It
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Aug. 30, 2013
Leo Rondeau's 2009 sophomore offering, Down at the End of the Bar, unfurled behind the local songwriter's languid twang, but his third LP kicks into a raucous party. His drawl still draws, shading tones of Gram Parsons, yet peels almost breathlessly against the faster tunes and packed-tight phrasings. Opener "Love Again" bursts with a country chorus and Tex-Mex spice as Gary Newcomb's pedal steel spars with Pete Weiss' accordion, the pairing at full effect on the zydeco-inflected romp "Alligator Man." The rolling lyrics of "Here's My Heart" and "Blackjack Davy Revisited" compel in the cracks of Rondeau's vocals as he keeps pace, while "Bound to Be a Winner" cuts a darker shade as his range stretches. Rondeau's voice is best deployed when he takes his time, as "Right in the Middle" finds the balance and "Resistance in My Blood" allows his words to linger.