Over the past six months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Greenville, SC-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Marcus King. 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 has opened for Chris Stapleton during the country star’s last US arena tour, playing in front of 17,000 people every night.
King’s Dan Auerbach-produced full-length debut El Dorado was released earlier this year through Fantasy Recordings, and the album continues his ongoing collaboration with Auerbach with the album being co-written with the acclaimed singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer over a breakneck three days at his Nashville-based Easy Eye Sound Studio. Sonically the album finds King and Auerbach crafting a contemporary 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 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.”
“One Day She’s Here,” El Dorado’s fourth single is lush song centered around a soulful arrangement that’s 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 the specific period that seemingly inspired it, the song is an achingly earnest song about a lover, who suddenly disappears without explanation — and with a remarkable display of craft and self-assuredness that belies its creators relative youth.
Directed by Joshua Shoemaker, the recently released video for “One Day She’s Here” is a mind-bending nod to Memento as it features action going in forward and reverse simultaneously as it focuses on the sudden disappearance of the song’s central love interest.