Upstate Beat: Marcus King drummer Jack Ryan’s funky, jazzy side-band, The Shady Recruits

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Upstate Beat

Jack Ryan still hasn’t quite gotten over the fact that the band he plays drums for, The Marcus King Band, has a sold-out show at the Peace Center coming up. In fact, the show (which the band is calling the “Hometown Throwdown”) sold out within a couple of days of being announced, a true sign of how much the Upstate loves its own fast-rising blues-rockers, led by one of the most talented young guitarists in the country.

“I’m trying to think of all the shows I’ve seen at the Peace Center,” Ryan says. “I saw B.B. King there; I saw Steve Winwood there, Bela Fleck, all kinds of really famous musicians, so the fact that we’re playing there in the first place is exciting. The fact that we sold it out, and not only sold it out, but did it within a couple of days, I’m not even sure it’s set in yet. And it probably won’t until after the show. It’s beyond my ability to verbally explain how I feel.”

Ryan isn’t going to have a lot of time to bask in the post-show glow, though, because he’s got to go straight from the Peace Center to another venue, Gottrocks, to play the official Hometown Throwdown after-party with his OTHER group, The Shady Recruits.

That band, featuring guitarist Charles Hedgepath, bassist David Katilius, keyboardist Marcus White, and fellow Marcus King Band alum Justin Johnson on trumpet and trombone, is a funky, jazzy, improv-heavy group that has an entirely different vibe from Ryan’s day-job.

The Marcus King Band - Jack Ryan
Jack Ryan, drummer for The Shady Recruits. Photo provided

“It’s a lot more informal,” Ryan says. “Not that the Marcus King Band is FORMAL, but this is a lot more relaxed. It’s kind of all over the place, but WE’RE all over the place in terms of influences.”

Perhaps one of the reasons Ryan finds it a more relaxed atmosphere is that he lets the other musicians in the band take the reins when it comes to selecting the material.

“When The Shady Recruits played at the Family Reunion (an annual multiband festival in North Carolina created by King), everyone kept asking me different things about what instruments people needed, what time the set was going to be, all this technical stuff,” he says. “And when someone asked me about the setlist, I told the band, ‘You guys are going to have to handle that; I can’t do anything else right now.’ And they totally did. It was absolutely fine, and the set went over great.”

So far, the world has been able to hear that material only in a live setting, but that’s about to change. Ryan, who seemingly doesn’t like having any downtime at all, has just finished some recording sessions with his side band in between touring with Marcus King.

“We just went up to Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, and we did two days of recording,” Ryan says. “We went in to do four songs and came out with six, and hopefully they will be out in September.”

In the meantime, Ryan says he’ll have to figure out how to not let the euphoria from his Peace Center experience bleed over into his show at Gottrocks.

“As far as the mindset, I’ll probably be so excited from playing the Peace Center that I’ll come into Gottrocks and it’ll carry over,” he says with a laugh. “Everything will probably be faster than normal. I can get in my head really quickly, so I try not to think about things too much. But going back to Gottrocks is special. We played so many shows there and it’s one of those classic hometown venues. The vibe in there is really fun.”

What: “Hometown Throwdown” After-Party with The Shady Recruits
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, July 13
Where: Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Drive, Greenville
Tickets: $10 advance, $15 door
Info: 864-235-5519, http://www.gottrocksgreenville.com

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