Introducing The Marcus King Band

Hey Fam!

We hope you are all having an amazing summer. It's September, which means we are just about a month away from the release of our new album, The Marcus King Band, available October 7. We had a lot of fun putting together this record and wanted to share a little glimpse of what it was like in studio. You can check out our behind-the-scenes video below!

Live at Rockwood Music Hall FREE EP

Hey Fam!

We've got a very special treat for y'all today. Earlier this Spring we had the honor of playing a sold out show at New York City's Rockwood Music Hall. The whole night was multi-tracked and we've compiled some of our favorite selections from the night into the Live at Rockwood Music Hall EP, which you can now download for free!!



Marcus King Band plays to packed house at Bay City's BeMo's

BAY CITY, MI — Blues-rock sextet the Marcus King Band was met with a full-house at a Bay City bar, their lone Michigan gig on their 25-date tour.

The South Carolina group, fronted by vocalist-guitar virtuoso Marcus King, performed at BeMo's Bar, 701 S. Madison Ave., the evening of Wednesday, June 15. They played for more than an hour and a half, with King's sonorous voice and guitar skills turning their songs into extended, improvisational jams with a vintage, juke-joint flavor. 

The group played a bevy of songs from their debut LP, "Soul Insight," and a handful from their forthcoming followup record. They also threw in a couple of cover tunes, such as drastically reinterpreted of the Beatles' "Dear Prudence" and the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone."

The band's next stop is in Evanston, Illinois, on Thursday, June 16.

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Here Comes The Marcus King Band

Y’all better listen up.  The Marcus King Band is coming to town.   The band is currently touring in support of its debut album, Soul Insight.  The disc is gaining recognition from guitar aficionados and fans of “bands who jam,” defying genres as it draws from the full gamut of American music styles. 

At the ripe old age of 19, band leader and guitarist King is already a veteran performer, having earned his first paying gig at age 8, a year after taking up the instrument.  By age 11 he was performing with his father’s band, Marvin King & The Blues Revival.  His current barnstorming tour, which includes dozens of dates scheduled across the US, in many ways is simply a continuation of the family business.  And, when you listen to the album, you realize the younger King and his band mates have taken very quickly to their jobs.

I had the opportunity to talk to King as a preview to their June 15 show at Bemo’s Bar (701 S. Madison, Bay City).  Here’s what he had to say:

Review: When I look on your website and I see the sheer number of dates scheduled and the amount of territory you are covering, I get the impression that this is the beginning of a master plan of sorts - like the start of something big.

Marcus King:  Well, we’d like to think so.  We are just having fun doing what we do.  It beats the heck out of doing anything else.  We just like to put everything we have into it.  I guess there is a master plan to it all, but as long as we can continue to do what we love, we’ll be happy.

Review:  You are probably familiar with the “10,000 hour rule,” that says you need to invest 10,000 hours into an activity to actually “get good” at it. You have most likely already gone past that just practicing your guitar.  Now that you have the opportunity to gig like you are – you are playing to a variety of audiences and a variety of kinds of places – how do you see yourself changing as a guitarist or a musician or as a performer?  Mastering those last two are certainly a way different things than just playing guitar in your bedroom, aren’t they?

King:  Absolutely.  Especially, with the kind of music we play, it’s never the same show twice.  You’ll find, yourself as a musician, trying to outdo yourself from the night before at every show and every pass.  Everybody in the band, as a player, has to have that same mentality.  I think that was sets performing apart from just playing. 

Review:  Let me pick up on something you said there.  For the people who might be reading this that are unfamiliar with your work, how do you describe what it is you do?

King:   We get asked that kind of thing a lot when people are asking about the group – what kind of music we play – and they haven’t really heard of us before.  We try to explain it the best we can.  But, it is tough because we don’t really want to put our music in a box.  I think Miles Davis explained it best when he said he didn’t play jazz, because he didn’t want to put his music in a box.  It was just an expression of his emotion.  If I was going to have to put a title on it, it would be “Jazz Fusion Psychedelic Southern Rock,” so we can get everything in there in one pass.  You what I mean? 

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Southern blues-rock phenoms Marcus King Band have just one show in Michigan

BAY CITY, MI — Delta blues revivalism, a Memphis soul motif, and Southern-fried psychedelic rock are the three pillars of the Marcus King Band's sound. At just 19, their namesake leader is something of a guitar virtuoso belying his age.

Come Wednesday, June 15, the sextet is bringing their torrid and groove-laden sound to Bay City with a performance at BeMo's Bar, 701 S. Madison Ave. The group is on tour from their native Greenville, South Carolina, in support of debut LP "Soul Insight," released in October on Evil Teen Records, founded by Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes. On, the 12-song album has a perfect five-star rating across 21 user reviews, a remarkable feat.

The band's stop in Bay City is one of 25 dates on the tour throughout the Midwest, South and East Coast and their only one in Michigan. Having opened for the likes of Foo Fighters, Gov't Mule, and Johnny Winter, this is their first headlining tour of this scale.

Apart from being a phenom on the six-string — oft compared to the likes of Gregg Allman and Derek Trucks — King is also making waves for his songwriting craft and evocative voice, a supple, raspy tenor similar to that of Ray LaMontagne.

King took a few minutes to speak with The Times about his music and what BeMo's attendees can expect from his band's performance.

MLive: How'd you get your start as a musician?

Marcus King: My family all played, so I was always surrounded by it when was really young. I was always banging around on something since I remember. At about 7 or 8 is the time I really got serious about it. I was more concerned with the drums, but as I got a little bit older, the guitar slowly turned into my main focus and my main way to express myself musically. I started gigging with my dad full-time when I was about 8. Later, around 13 or 14, I started singing. I just wanted another dimension to my expressive capabilities musically.

MLive: Being from the South, were the bluesman like Son House and Charlie Patton much of an influence on you?

MK: My father was always really big into the blues. He was turning me onto all the kings, Robert Johnson and stuff like that. My granddad turned me on to Willie Nelson and George Jones and that's where a lot of my songwriting comes from, those good, old storytelling songs. I still listen to that stuff and I love it. I started listening to jazz when I got to middle school, high school age. I was really heavy into that for a while, and still am. Miles Davis, John Coltrane set that stuff in motion for me.

MLive: What sources do you pull from in your songwriting?

MK: Recently, I've been writing more of those storyteller tunes, from more of a third-person point of view. For the most part, it's all from a very personal place. Writing has always been a very personal thing for me. It came from a place of hurt and the deeper crevices of my mind that I could pull from.

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Marcus King Band’s Friendship With Warren Haynes Is ‘a Dream Come True’

The Marcus King Band‘s music is a Southern rock-y blend of blues, soul and funk, and their not-yet-old-enough-to-drink frontman hails from Greenville, N.C. — all facts that draw comparisons to Warren Haynes‘ music (he plays blues-y Southern rock, among other genres), early career (he began playing with David Allan Coe at the age of 20) and upbringing (he’s an Asheville, N.C., native). So it’s not too surprising that since Haynes heard MKB in 2014, he’s taken a liking to the six-piece band.

After some mutual acquaintances passed King’s music along to Haynes, the group was booked to play as part of Haynes’ Christmas Jam concert … then offered an opening spot for a Greenville show by Haynes’ group Gov’t Mule … then invited to jam onstage. And then, signed to Evil Teen Records, the president of which is Haynes’ wife, Stefanie Scamardo.

“Warren’s really been a hero of mine ever since I was really young, ever since I started playing, as a singer and as a writer, and as a player,” King told The Boot after his band’s set at Mountain Jam 2016. “And to be able to work with him has just been — it’s a dream come true, and he’s such a sweet and humble guy, so we just hit it off right off that bat, and it’s just been really great.”

During the Marcus King Band’s 45-minute set at the festival on Friday (June 3), Haynes briefly joined them onstage to jam — and when the group releases the follow-up project to their debut record, Soul Insight, it will be under Haynes’ watch.

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5 Best Things About Mountain Jam 2016

Falling In Love With The Marcus King Band

Early on Friday afternoon (June 3), Jammers were introduced to the soulful Southern rock of the Marcus King Band, a North Carolina-bred quintet who have earned praise from -- and the mentorship of -- Warren Haynes. During MKB's 45-minute set, Haynes spent a little time onstage jamming with the band, but King and company didn't need his star power to earn approval from the crowd. We're looking forward to seeing more from these up-and-comers.

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East of 8th Preview: The Marcus King Band at The Basement 5/22

via East of 8th

An extreme lack of sleep, a lost wallet, and a misplaced guitar were worth the trouble at SXSW this year for Marcus King and his band; on their last night in Austin, the outfit decided to make a stop at the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus for a fateful encounter.Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 6.00.20 PM “George Clinton was in there hanging out.  We started jamming; I was hoping he’d join us, so I started singing ‘Unfunky UFO’.  Then, I heard someone singing along with me, and I was like ‘oh snap!’” exclaims King about his hang the Prime Minister of Funk.  “It was awesome.”

Since our last chat in March, King and company have been tearing up the highways from coast to coast in support of their album Soul Insight, a tour which will bring the band to Nashville for a show at local legendary venue, The Basement, on Sunday, May 22nd.  “Nashville’s always a good time.  People come out to see you, and they really appreciate what it is that we’re doing,” comments King on the notoriously discerning Music City audience.  “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the tougher crowds we play, but we thrive off of that.  We like the challenge.”

In the midst of their busy touring schedule, the band found time to record a new album, which King says should be released in late August or early September.  “It’s probably going to be self-titled, I’m not 100% sure yet.  There are 12 songs and a hidden bonus track,” he says. “We recorded the first album in San Diego, and the sound of the record reflected where we were, having a large time during all those beautiful sunshine-y days.  This one we cut in Stamford, Connecticut in January and February, it was all snowy, a completely different vibe.  Also, the songs on this record are more from a third person’s standpoint, they tell different kinds of stories.”

The new album was produced by King’s idol, legendary blues rock guitarist Warren Haynes; “There was never a dull moment being around Warren.  There are some surprise guests on there,” he says, adding, “Warren has always been one of my heroes for so many reasons; I’ve always admired his ability to arrange tunes in such a pleasant way.  He was able to take our ideas and help us arrange them into compositions.”

After their Nashville show, the band will make its way up the east coast, stopping to play Mountain Jam in Hunter, New York, sharing stages with the likes of Beck, Wilco, and Gov’t Mule; there are show dates booked all the way into next January.  “We’re playing as much as we can, trying to play to as many people who will listen.  We’re trying to evolve the sound so we can express ourselves to our fullest capacities.  It’s a release of emotion, that’s what music is for me, being able to speak your mind, not repressing emotions, but voicing them in a positive manner,” King says.  “People are taught they shouldn’t have emotions or feel; when you come to see us, we want you to be able to relate to what we’re trying to express, and to know that you have a shoulder to lean on.”