The lead singer and guitarist that provides the Marcus King Band’s moniker hails from Greenville, South Carolina, and plays what he calls “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock,” which is an apt description. Only 20 years old, Marcus King’s father, Marvin King, was a regionally popular blues and gospel singer, and his grandfather was a regional musician as well. Growing up as a boy, young Marcus told eastof8th blog “I was listening to George Jones, Chet Atkins, and Merle Haggard with my granddad. Later on, I was heavily influenced by jazz cats like Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Jimmy Smith.”
The legendary Warren Haynes has promoted Marcus and his band as a true believer, performing with them at concerts and inviting Marcus King to perform with him in the band Gov’t Mule. The band has two albums to its credit: Soul Insight, a gritty blues, southern rock and prog rock-inflected debut, and the self-titled double disc Marcus King Band on the Fantasy label.
Touring in anticipation of their new album, they impressed at SXSW, jamming out with George Clinton, performed at Mountain Jam that included electric sets and extended jams with Warren Haynes, and–a last minute substitute booking–took the XPoNential Music Festival in Philadelphia by storm, becoming WXPN’s August Artist to Watch.
You can hear the musical influences that informed Marcus’ sound blend together in the mix of horns, drums, keyboards, and guitar, the band’s eclectic mix of blues, soul, prog rock, and southern rock producing a gumbo reminiscent of Tower of Power at their peak mixed in with a bit of Allman Brothers, a slice of John McLaughlin, a dash of Gov’t Mule, and a pinch of Hendrix psychedelia. While still a bit raw and unfocused at times, this is one talent to watch as he matures and develops his sound.
Here is the band at WFUV performing “Rita is Gone.”