If I told you that Marcus King has been playing blues live for fifteen years, how old would you guess he is? If you guessed 23, you’d be correct and I would be surprised. King has been playing professionally since age 11, working his way across his home of the United States. In the last year, he has appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, undertaken an arena tour with ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ singer Chris Stapleton, and has headlined at a series of festivals across the world, including The Marcus King Band Family Reunion.
Having made his Australian debut last year, The Marcus King Band will return again for Bluesfest, including a sideshow at Melbourne’s Croxton Bandroom, on Wednesday, April 15th. The band have released three albums together, the last of which (2018’s Carolina Confessions) reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues Chart. Now, to welcome the new decade, King is releasing his first solo album, El Dorado, on January 17th. As a preview of this album, King released the EP Beautiful Stranger just last week.
From the opening notes and lyrics of the EP’s title track, it is easy to tell this album is going to be something special. From the soulfulness of ‘Beautiful Stranger’, to the grungey blues-rock ‘Say You Will’, to strained vocals of ‘The Well’, Marcus King has again created a blues sound that is often overlooked in the modern age. With a producer like Dan Auberbach (The Black Keys) at the helm, this album promises to be explosive. King is a showcase of a sound not defined to one genre. From blues to funk, to the soul, even rock, there are elements of each sound on show, and this translates to the live shows of The Marcus King Band. El Dorado was produced by Dan Auberbach
The Marcus King Band is made up of King on lead guitar and vocals, Jack Ryan on drums, Stephen Campbell on bass, Justin Johnson playing the trumpet and trombone, and saxonophist/steel guitarist Dean Mitchell. Having played over 140 shows in the last year alone, these guys are practised and tight. Described by countless publications as an “electrifying rock performer”, this is a great opportunity to see King and his Band in a smaller venue and is their only other Aussie show other than Bluesfest in Byron.
It all goes down at the Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne – April 15. Tickets are available through Oztix.
Written by Thom Devereux
Photo by Lance Lee