Over the past couple of months, I’ve managed to write a bit about the rapidly rising Greenville, SC-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, Marcus King. The Greenville-born, Nashville-based King is a fourth generation musician, who has followed in his family’s footsteps by becoming a musician and singer/songwriter of note himself.
Playing professionally since he was 11, King was discovered after a video of him performing at Norman’s Rare Guitars went viral. Now 23, King has been performing for the past 15 years, establishing himself as a world class guitarist, vocalist and highly sought-after session player.
Since 2015, King has been relentlessly touring with his backing band The Marcus King Band — Jack Ryan (drums), Stephen Campbell (bass), Justin Johnson (trumpet, trombone) and Dean Mitchell (sax, still guitar) — playing 140 dates live shows over the course of the past year. Adding to a breakthrough year, King and his backing band have played on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, made his debut at The Grand Ole Opry — and he recently opened for Chris Stapleton during his last US arena tour, playing in front of 17,000 people every night.
Building upon a rapidly rising profile, King’s highly-anticipated, Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut El Dorado is slated for a January 17, 2020 release through Fantasy Recordings. King’s full-length debut continues on the success of his first collaboration with Auerbach, “How Long,” with the album being co-written with the acclaimed singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer over three days at his Easy Eye Sound studio — and reportedly, the album is a contemporary sonic exploration of classic rock, blues, southern R&B and country soul.
“Marcus is known by so many as a phenom guitar player, and rightfully so,” Dan Auerbach says of his time working with Marcus King. “He’s regularly the best player in the room, hands down. I was equally blown away by the way he can sing — so effortless, so soulful, straight to the heart. He’s a naturally gifted writer too, which was clear right away. Everything for him is so innate — that’s why he can always go right to the heart of a song and connect in a deeper way. He’s really one of a king and I’m proud I got to work alongside him on this record.”
“Wildflowers and Wine,” El Dorado‘s second single was a slow-burning track that was one-part Muscle Shoals soul, one part Southern rock, one-part R&B and one-part classic blues centered around a lush arrangement of twinkling keys, a soulful backing vocal section and a sinuous bass pair line paired with King’s vocals. And while being clearly indebted to 70s AM radio, the song manages to be a carefully crafted and self-assured bit of soulful pop, which manages to belie King’s relative youth while being a perfect vehicle for a his blues-tinged guitar work and his exceptional and effortlessly soulful vocals. “Say You Will,” the album’s third single is a slickly produced, arena rock friendly blues number with an enormous hook, which immediately brought Slowhand-era Eric Clapton and Texas Flood-era Stevie Ray Vaughan to mind.
“One Day She’s Here” the fourth and latest single off the Greenville-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s highly anticipated full-length debut, is a gorgeous and sultry song that sounds deeply indebted to Curtis Mayfield and 70s Motown, complete with a soaring string arrangement, layers of propulsive percussion, shimmering Rhodes piano and guitar, an enormous hook and King’s effortlessly soulful vocals. Much like its predecessors, El Dorado’s latest single continues a run of remarkably self-assured and crafted material that belie its creators relative youth. But perhaps more important, the album’s material reveals a budding superstar in the making.