The Moonshiner's Ball, Day One, In All Its Glory. A Truly Kentucky Tradition.


via Capture Kentucky

Our last band of the day was The Marcus King Band. If you’re unaware of young Marcus, I am so happy to be the one to introduce you to his music. At the staggeringly young age of 20 years old, this young man has already begun carving out his niche in today’s musical landscape. His style is blues rock, infused with soul and delivered with heart. Marcus can be described as the heir to the throne when it comes to jam bands. Mentored and inspired by the great Warren Haynes, Marcus and his flat-out amazing band are 100% the real deal. I’ve witnessed well over 1,000 bands in my time on this earth, but never one that possesses the sheer power that The Marcus King Band holds. Believe me when I say this, if you enjoy the blues, make it your life’s mission to see this band on stage. In 30 years, you can tell everyone that you saw the beginnings of what will then be a legendary career. It may seem like I’m pushing an inflated description of this young band, but if you witness them live, I can guarantee you will absolutely agree. Prove me wrong, I dare ya.

Marcus King slings six-string styles at Rooster Walk



Feeling like an outcast can have benefits. Guitarist, singer and songwriter Marcus King’s story proves it.

Growing up in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, King didn’t feel like he fit in with his peers. Instead of trying to force the issue, he focused on his music.

“That was pretty much my childhood, in summary,” King said. “In my room, playing guitar.”

It’s unlikely those peers will get a record on the Billboard charts, count Warren Haynes as a mentor or have Tedeschi Trucks Band, William Bell and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats as label mates. At 20, King has got all of that going and is shooting for more.

He brings music from two albums — one of which has been in the Billboard Blues albums chart for more than seven months — to Rooster Walk, for two Saturday sets.

To be sure, it’s not all about blues with King. It’s just that the blues genre is a catch-all for music that contains throwback soul, R&B, funk, rock and jam, even country. King’s self-titled sophomore disc fits in neatly with the styles that Haynes and Tedeschi Trucks Band play.

“We’ve kind of settled on calling it psychedelic southern rock jazz fusion soul,” King said.

King’s genre amalgamation in writing and performance came early, sprung in large part from listening to “anything but guitar” in order to forge his six-string style. He made that move on his own at about age 9, after having been inspired by the usual blues and rock guitar heroes: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Freddie King, B.B. King and Albert King.

“I realized I don’t want to be just a Stevie Ray Vaughan clone,” King said. “I want to have my own sound.”

He went on a musical diet of jazzers John Coltrane (saxophone), Miles Davis (trumpet) and Jimmy Smith (organ), along with pedal steel guitar man Buddy Emmons. He added such singers as James Dewar (from Trower’s band), Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Otis Redding, Sam Cooke and Sam & Dave to the list of performers to emulate with his guitar.

Soaking in those influences ultimately would inspire his singing and songwriting, as well. But it took a youthful tragedy before he turned to those aspects. At 13, a schoolmate died.

“She was a good friend of mine,” King said. “It was at that moment that I realized I couldn’t fully express myself, only through the guitar. I needed to start writing some lyrics to express myself further. That’s when I started singing.”

King’s father and grandfather were key to his development as well. Father Marvin King is a rock ’n’ roller to the core who continues to pick in the Greenville area, and a young Marcus played in his father’s band before starting his own. His grandfather, William Morris King, could pick in the styles of Chet Atkins and The Ventures’ Bob Bogle before he fell and broke his wrist, Marcus King said. Granddad turned him on to George Jones, Merle Haggard and other classic country, while his dad played him Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others.

Marcus King had his first full-scale guitar, a Squier Stratocaster, by age 7. During high school, he expanded his palette by studying jazz with a Greenville teacher, Steve Watson.

“I never wanted to limit myself to one particular genre of music, and the same being said for the entire group,” Marcus King said. “We’ve always wanted to express ourselves in whatever style of music we need, to say what we need to say.”

He and his band — these days a six-piece unit including a keyboardist and two horn players — were ready by the time King started hanging out in nearby Asheville, North Carolina. While picking with players in that town, he met multi-instrumentalist and songwriter (and hot-style fried chicken guru) Rocky Lindsley. The two would go on to write the country-flavored cut “Guitar In My Hand.”

After meeting, playing and hanging out, Lindsley told King that he had one thought in mind before approaching him: “Please don’t let this guy be an [expletive],” King remembered, laughing.

“That’s a notion that a lot of musicians can really relate to,” he added. “You hear some cats and you really enjoy their playing, and you’re like, please don’t let ‘em be a jerk. If they’re nice, you’re like, ‘Oh, thank God.’

“We really hit it off. He was the one that introduced me to Warren.”

As in Warren Haynes, an Asheville native who has played with the Allman Brothers Band, The Dead and many of his own projects, including Gov’t Mule. Turns out, Haynes was King’s hero. Soon, he would become a mentor, releasing King’s debut CD, “Soul Insight,” on his own Evil Teen label. King has since moved to Fantasy Records.

That’s a lot to happen to a musician by age 20. King said it is just the beginning of what he can do.

“I always feel like I’ve got a lot to say, and I always feel like there’s like an hourglass kind of waiting for me for some reason,” he said. “I feel like I need to say it all as soon as I can and get it all out. It’s a crazy world out there, and I want to be able to say everything I need to say.

“I’m never really in a hurry, but I’m always certainly motivated to keep moving forward.”

Marcus King Band brings 'soul-influenced psychedelic Southern rock' to Revelry Room


via Times Free  Press

Singer. Songwriter. Guitarist. Bandleader.

Marcus King has accomplished all that and, at age 21, the Washington Post already calls him "one of music's next great guitarists — a virtuosic talent capable of playing blues, rock, R&B, country, soul and more."

But ask King how he describes the Marcus King Band's fiery brand of American roots music and he'll describe it as "soul-influenced psychedelic Southern rock."

Fans can decide for themselves when the Marcus King Band plays The Revelry Room tonight.

Raised in Greenville, S.C., King was brought up on the blues, playing shows by the time he was a pre-teen as sideman for his father, bluesman Marvin King, who was also the son of a regionally known guitarist. By age 12, King had his own band.

The Marcus King Band released its debut album, "Soul Insight" in October 2015. It reached No. 8 on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart.

The band's second full-length LP, and first on Fantasy Records, was released one year later. The album was written entirely on the road and recorded during sessions at Carriage House Studios in Connecticut.

The album features King on lead vocals and guitar, Jack Ryan on drums and percussion, Stephen Campbell on bass, Matt Jennings on keys and organ, Dean Mitchell on saxophone and Justin Johnson on trumpet, trombone and backing vocals.

The album also showcased some of King's mentors, including Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. That album surpassed the success of the first and reached No. 2 on Billboard Blues Albums Chart.

The album captures the energy of the band's blazing live show, as well as displaying the talent of a young songwriter reaching well beyond his years.

"The majority of our songs are specific to situations I've lived," King says. "I write as a form of therapy, to release my emotions into a musical expression. Music is the true healer. And when we perform, we want the audience to leave feeling as tired and as emotionally freed as we do. It's all about getting the stress of the day off your chest."

Ask The Marcus King Band!

We're starting a new feature over here on the site where you can ask the band anything you'd like. Just fill out the form at the end of this page to ask your question(s)!


Andrew K. Asks: Hi, just wondering if anyone in the band has started a little collection of anything while doing so much traveling around. Kind of a random question, but just wanted to know.

Haha well. Dean and I have been collecting Hotel Room keys and show laminates. Jack and Stephen collect VHS tapes



Tyler C. Asks:  Hey guys, I'm a huge fan of your music, and lately of Thespian Espionage in particular. I've been trying to learn it on guitar, but I'm having a hard time picking up the chord progression by ear, especially the jam in the middle. Would you be able share those chords? I'd really appreciate it. Either way, can't wait for you guys to come around to CT again!

Hey Tyler. The improvisational section is a pattern of chords based around the key of C minor

C-7 (8 bars)
F-7. Eflat maj 7 , F-7,  Aflat maj. 7
C-7 (4 bars)
F-7, G-7, A flat maj. 7, G-7 (Repeat 2x)



Keith T Asks: Hi Marcus, I'm a 65 year young fan. Love your music and the styles you deliver. Started playing guitar at an older age. Played in a local blues band in NJ for a few years recently. I am hooked on your song Rita is Gone, specifically the versions you jam on . Not sure what you can or would share, but it would be great if you could provide the chords. I think it's in some sort of Dm mode but your changes have a unique sound so a mix of what sounds like some diminished or Maj7's in there, but I may be way off. Would appreciate what you can share. It would be great in a jam with some other musicians I am trying to get together. Would also be willing to purchase in copyrighted sheet music if necessary.
Thanks and all my best for your success.

Hey Keith! Really happy to hear you dig the tune. 

Verse: Dminor, C7, Bflat Major 7

Chorus: G minor7, C7, Fminor7, B flat major 7
G-7, A-7, B flat major 7, C7 (A flat 13, G7)



Isy H. Asks: Just wanted to ask where (and if) can I buy a guitar strap like the one Marcus is using (with the big ring)?

I had that particular strap made when I was 11 years old. I have tried to contact the leathersmith responsible since then but haven't heard anything back. I do know it was called leathersmith by Liz in Easley SC. Moody Leather makes all of my other straps. 



Benny B. Asks: What do you set the knobs on your TS9 ? I have the same amp you use My TS9 is a keeley mod plus . Would there be any difference?

Hey benny! Depending on the size of the venue I adjust the gain. Usually. The amp is cranked to 10 tube screamer gain is at noon. Volume is at 7 o'clock . 



Patricia R. Asks: That hat is your trademark! Did you buy that or did someone pick that out for you! Not everyone can pull that look off but you do and very well! Love the feathers trailing in back!

Hey Patricia ! I got my hat at high mountain outfitters in Denver CO



Gustavo R. Asks: Hello, Marcus, how are you? Would you like to know what your favorite Ibanez TS9 configuration is and whether your wah pedal is Standard (GCB-95) or Classic (GCB-95F)? Thank you!

Gustavo, hey brother! Using a standard TS9 and Standard Cry baby wah



Mike M. Asks: Your FREDDIE KING" ripen it up clone action...was that on purpose??? KILLER cant wait to see you again/will bring 1000 of my closest friends!!!

Hey Mike! It was greeting meeting you both! We always love covering Freddie King Tunes, We try to go with whatever vibe is in the room and Freddies spirit happened to be in the air that night! Looking forward to the next one. Talk soon - MK



Richard A. Asks: HI Jack, fellow drummer down here in Texas. I play a similar setup to yours, but couldn't find any details online. Im curious what your primary kit is, what heads you use and what cymbals. Rock on.

Hey rich! 
Are you referring to what I play live? Or what you heard on the album? 

I've been touring with my Noble & Cooley CD maple kit since august of 2016. It's a 5 piece kit. 
Bass drum: 24x14
Rack tom: 13x9
Floor toms: 16x14 18x16
Snare: 7x14 Solid shell maple has been my main girl. 
I also have a 6ply walnut 6.5x14 and a solid shell beech wood 7x14. All noble  & Cooley. 
I use Evans coated G1 heads on the snare and toms (no moon gels or any muffling) 
I usually just use an emad for the bass drum.  

Cymbals all zildjan: hi hat 14" kerope (heavy on top) 
19" kerope (hi hat side)
22" k custom medium ride
20" k custom hybrid ride (tilted to the right of the main ride, used as more of a crash) 

If you saw any of the old videos where I'm playing a blue sparkle kit, those are my slingerlands. Late 70's pretty much exact same set up as my noble & cooleys (only difference is the first floor tom is 16x16). 

I hope that answered you're questions, ask away if you want to know more. 
Thanks for reaching out! 



James F. Asks: Marcus - I LOVE your tone. What model and year is your SG and what P90s are you using? Thank you. See you in NYC!

Hey James! My SG is an early 70s model with mini humbuckers, I use a tubescreamer TS9 and a 65 Fender super reverb amp with a cry baby wah! We'll see you in NYC brother.. Cheers-MK



Ask A Question in the Form Below!

Name *

Interview: Marcus King Band to play at RIDE Festival in Telluride this July


The Marcus King Band will be treating fans to some amazing soul-filled Southern rock this July at the RIDE Festival in Telluride July 8 - 9, 2017. The extraordinary young singer, songwriter, and guitarist behind the band, Marcus King took time out of his creativity to chat musical influences and their second album The Marcus King Band. What King calls "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock," fans call genius. Out of Greenville, South Carolina, this incredible talent feels that "music is the true healer.” This talented band is made up of King on Vocals and guitar, Jack Ryan on Drums, Stephen Campbell on Bass, Justin Johnson handles the trumpet and trombone, Matt Jennings plays the organ and keyboards, and Dean Mitchell is on the Saxophone.

AXS: Tell your fans why you call your style a "soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock."

Marcus King: It's always been an ambiguous style of music. We didn't want to conform to one particular genre; kind of felt pigeon-holed, you know? One of the deepest roots of my upbringing was bluegrass, soul music, and gospel. I guess lately we've been calling it heavy soul rock and roll; not just because it rhymes well. 

AXS: Who were you influenced by?

MK: My dad was one of my biggest influencers and still is. So is my grandfather, and for life advice, music advice, and you know all the people in the local music scene took me under their wing. They let me jam in these bars that I was too young to get into. We played old Curtis Mayfield kind of music. I'm so thankful for that. It broadened my horizons as far as what I could see, musically. 

AXS: The RIDE Music Festival is such an epic time. What are you most looking forward to during that weekend?

MK: Well I'm really looking forward to seeing Telluride. I've never been to that part of Colorado. I have a good friend that lives out there and she's been telling me that it's just gorgeous and like you said, inspirational. I'm looking forward to really seeing the agriculture there and spending some time in nature, while at the same time being able to play.

AXS: Was there a particular inspiration or idea behind your album "Ain't Nothing Wrong with That?"

MK: Yeah, we decided to self-title it because it was kind of a reintroduction to the band. My drummer and I did the first record together in San Diego, and then when we came home we didn't have a band anymore because our keyboard player and our base player both went back to school; which is great. So we kind of had to go out and find some cats, and the guys that are on that record, and the ones that you hear and see on the stage; those are the guys that we found. We felt that chemistry almost immediately from playing together for the first time, and I was alright; we gotta put this on wax. I just wanted to self-title it to let people know that this is a re-introduction to what we do and here we are.

AXS: What other musicians have influenced you?

MK: When I was young I was really getting into guitar greats like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Hendrix, and Derek Trucks has always been a big one. I really wanted to broaden my horizons and listen to anything but guitar players for a while. I gained some inspiration so I wasn't just emulating players that I enjoyed. That'll happen as a guitar player if you only listen to other guitar players. It's not a bad thing; I wanted to discover my own sound. I felt like if I was able to take some other styles John Coltrane and Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, and apply it to guitar.  This was before I started singing I was listening to Etta James and Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding and James Brown, and try to take some of the vocal cadences that they have and apply it to the guitar. 

AXS: You said that "music is the true healer." I agree. How in your life is it a true healer? 

MK: I think a lot of things that I've dealt with when I was growing up, just like anybody else, you can find yourself almost preconditioned to pain to and hurt. I always think that it's a really important thing, whether it be music or any form of expression, is to get it out and not repress those emotions, ya know? Music was a positive outlet for me to get it all out. Whatever the emotion is at a certain point you push it down deep enough, it always comes out as anger or hate. So if you can get it out in a positive outlet soon enough, your body won't repress it.