Simply put, guitar virtuoso Marcus King is a seasoned rock veteran trapped in a 20 year-old’s body. Raised in South Carolina, Marcus has wooed crowds with his smooth, dazzling guitar dexterity since he was pre-teen performing as a sideman for his father Marvin King. Marcus was born into a lineage of successful musicians, dating back to his grandfather who was a regionally accomplished blues guitar player in the early Southern rock scene.
Marcus and his band have an especially influential champion in the legendary Warren Haynes, who produced the young band’s second full-length album The Marcus King Band, which was released last October via Fantasy Records – a label backed by distribution giant Universal Music and well known for albums by Clarence Clearwater Revival and Tedeschi Trucks Band. “Using this album as a blindfold test might confound even the most astute music lover because King and company so fully grasp the diversity of sound at their command,” writes All About Jazz on the eponymous album. “This is an ensemble thrilled by the discovery of its fast-evolving sophistication and that’s in part what makes the group’s music so joyfully infectious.”
On December 30th, The Marcus King Band traveled up the coast to The Cutting Room in New York City to perform for a sold out crowd after Phish’s penultimate performance at Madison Square Garden. Upon stepping into the bustling room you could practically taste the energy of a crowd that came out to witness an up-and-coming rockstar in his early, formative years. When Marcus and his band took the stage, he immediately demanded the attention of the room with a dexterous guitar riff and a powerful, uniquely raw vocal entrance. King often calls his music “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock,” a description that effectively encompasses the different sounds and flavors performed that night. Although Marcus is the focal point of his band, his supporting cast comprised of Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (bass), Matt Jennings (keys/organ), Dean Mitchell (sax), and Justin Johnson (trumpet/trombone/backing vocals) proved that night with their own improvisation and individual performances they could each be the centerpiece of their own music ventures.
Warren Haynes is not the only rock legend who’s openly endorsed and promoted The Marcus King Band. Guitar virtuoso Eric Krasno of Soulive and Lettuce has also vocalized his support and respect for the young guitar prodigy. In fact, The Eric Krasno Band and Marcus King Band are scheduled to perform a co-billed 10-date tour this winter, kicking off on January 24th at the new Portland House of Music in Maine. The tour will make its way to New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on Saturday, January 28th, where both Marcus’s and Krasno’s loyal New York following is on track to sell out the historic venue. Tickets are (fortunately) still available for purchase at the following link. In the meantime, check out these photos of The Marcus King Band performing at The Cutting Room over New Year’s. (photo credit: Adam McCullough Photography)