With an all-new band and album in the works, Marcus King hits the stage in his hometown
When I last spoke with Marcus King, the young, incredibly talented blues guitarist from right here in Greenville, we were talking about the reissue of his 2014 album, “Soul Insight.”
The album, a great sampler of King’s lethal guitar playing, funky rhythms and offbeat humor, was really just a precursor to what was coming, he told me. He had an all-new band, they were recording an album for Allman Bros/Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes’ label, Evil Teen Records (with Haynes producing), and at the ripe age of 19, King was about to embark on the biggest year of his career.
I recently spoke again with Marcus, son of Upstate blues guitar great Marvin King. He and the band are in Stanford, Conn., where he and his band (drummer Jack Ryan, keyboard player Matt Jennings, bassist Stephen Campbell and horn player Justin Johnson) are recording their new album, tentatively set for a late-summer release.
“Things are just going great,” King says. “It’s going really smoothly. Warren is a dream to work with and our vision for the record is really meshing.” King says that Haynes as a producer strikes just the right tone.
“He offers a lot of great suggestions, but he allows us to have the freedom of creating, and his arrangement skills are incredible,” King says. “He’s taking these ideas and compositions we’re coming up with and turning them into actual songs.”
The first Marcus King Band record was made with an almost entirely different group of musicians, and King says that, after a year and a half of playing together, the new group has come into its own as a unit.
The Marcus King Band w/ Dead 27’s
WHERE: Gottrocks, 200 Eisenhower Ave., Greenville
WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 20th 8 p.m.
TICKETS: $9 ADV/$12 DOS
INFO: 235-5519; http://gottrocksgreenville.com/
“The band has really gelled together,” he says. “It feels really good. Things have meshed really well between the guys and myself. It’s good to know that you have guys who are on the same wavelength as you, and that everyone’s on the same page, as far as where we want to be musically. They’re a tight-knit group of musicians, and having that good of a group gives you a real foundation to lean on both as a writer and a player. All that comes with a lot of rehearsal, of course, but a lot of it is natural chemistry between myself and the rest of the guys in the group.”
Given that fact that King has been playing guitar since he was 7, it’s understandable that all of this sudden momentum has taken him a bit by surprise.
“I don’t think there’s been a moment where I’m not in awe or in shock with everything that’s going on around us,” he says. “We’ve worked really hard, and we’ll always continue to do that, but where we are right now is incredible for me. I have to step back sometimes and remember that this is reality. It’s not a dream.”
The band is taking a break from recording to play a hometown show at Gottrocks this weekend, and King says he can hardly wait.
“I love Greenville so much,” he says. “Everyone’s been so supportive of us and they’ve always been there for us to fall back on. There’s nothing like support and love from the hometown. Coming back always feels like coming home. It doesn’t feel like anything’s changed and that’s what I love about it.”