At just 20 years old, Marcus King is making quite a name for himself in the music business — drawing a crowd wherever he plays.
Fans and newbies alike get the chance to find out why when the Marcus King Band performs at 5:30 p.m. July 30 during the 2nd annual Freeland Blues Festival at Tittabawassee Township Park, 9200 Midland Road.
While King says there is no set play list for the set, he does plan on giving the audience a sneak peak at his new album, “The Marcus King Band,” which won’t be released until Sept. 16. The first single, “Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong with That,” will be out by the time he comes to town.
“The music is subject to the crowd responding to what we are putting out there,” he said. “We do write a set list, but it’s only a guideline. We call out the tunes the crowd needs to feel at that time. When the crowd is reciprocating love, we move into what needs to go here and there.”
Although this is his second album — the first “Soul Insight” on Evil Teen Records — King is calling this latest effort his first.
“This is a beginning for us,” he said. “This is a different line up (of musicians). The only members from the old group in this current group is myself and the drummer (Jack Ryan). I found the cats I really want to play with for the rest of my career. Now they are all on this record. We wanted to self title it because it feels like it really is our first record.”
King describes it as a gumbo.
“This record has a little bit of everything,” he said. “I’ve never been able to categorize my music neither has anyone else. It’s blues, rock, funk, jazz Americana. Some things have a little country sound, R & B stuff, straight ahead rock and roll and old Motown soul stuff. It’s really all over the place, but it makes sense when you put it all together.”
Kind of like the way it was written. King is responsible for the lyrics, but each member of the group, which also includes Stephen Campbell on bass, Justin “JJ” Johnson on trumpet and trombone, Matt Jennings on organ and keyboards and Dean Mitchell on sax — all had input into the instrumental elements of the tunes.
Getting his first guitar at age 7, and the musical influences of his dad’s albums, set the stage for the youngster to begin pursuing a career in music.
“My dad, he was a musician during the revolution years,” he says laughing. “We moved from Germany in 1969 and he started playing music in Greenville (South Carolina). He was one of the first freaks around. Delving into his music collection, I discovered artists that made my clock tick. The first record that really lit a fire was ‘At the Fillmore East,’ by the Allman Brothers.”
Others that lit his fire included Robin Trower, Janis Joplin, Etta James and Otis Redding.
Once that guitar was put in his hands, King knew exactly where his life was headed.
“I just wanted to have fun,” he said. “As soon as I put a guitar in my hands, I knew what I wanted to do. I could see my whole future in front of me. I think the word fame is a subjective term. I think it’s really in the eyes of the beholder. I feel the most successful when I’m with people I love the most, traveling the country and doing what I do.”
Something he hopes to be doing for many years to come.
“I’m a songwriter, but first and foremost, I’m just a musician. I like to share my craft with other people. I want to make something beautiful for you and that’s how I would like to continue my career.”
King will also perform July 28 and 29 at BeMo’s Bar, 701 S.Madison Ave., Bay City.