this week in texas twang #7: Leo Rondeau
Meet Leo Rondeau. He’s a Northerner who, with a learned Southern drawl, flirts with disaster.
Mixing lulling three-piece melodies with a simple hi-hat and snare, Rondeau sets the scene with foreboding storytelling, almost as if he’s inherited that born-and-bred old-timey country feeling.
He’s got the Johnny Cash trio down, but give it a minute or two, and suddenly five to ten of the most accomplished Austin musicians emerge, backing him on whatever stringed instrument is lying around. Everything from mandolin to reverb-stained steel guitar is thrown in, sometimes even troubadour-loaded clarinets and trumpets too, transporting the listener to the mellowest showdown around.
With lines like “You were always quite a trophy but never much of a wife,” and “I dug my heels in the dirt with my pistol in my hand, I was going to meet the devil fightin’ like a man,” Rondeau, like a charmer with a snake, slowly and melodically draws the listener in only to abruptly spit them out.
His second CD, Down At the End Of the Bar, is loaded with the kind of music your grandparents were warned about but maybe it should be called Passed Out On the Floor ‘Cause I Miss the Stage. It’s where he’s meant to be.