Live Music Review – The Marcus King Band
Written by Shawn Chisholm on February 14, 2016
Marcus King and his band have just wrapped up a recording session in Stamford CT at the Carriage House studio for a new and eagerly anticipated album. They stopped in Asheville in the middle of a 3 night run on the return trip from that session.
We caught the band as they were finishing their sound check at New Mountain Asheville where they were booked for the evening. The band was in very good spirits, there was a lot of joking and laughter as we squeezed into the green room to chat and Marcus introduced his band:
Justin JJ Johnson (Trumpet/Trombone)
Jack Ryan (Drums)
Stephen Campbell (bass)
Matt Jennings (Keyboards)
Dean Mitchell (Saxaphone)
Newest member Dean Mitchell hails from Asheville’s local favorites Traver’s Brothership with whom MKB regularly shares the stage. When asked about their family backgrounds I learned that most come from musical families. Justin Johnson (who joined the band full time in May after working with them for a couple years during breaks from school) told us “it’s a family thing” of his grandparents, parents and siblings who all play. Jack Ryan laughingly admitted to being the exception: “I was always begging for another drum for holidays and birthdays”
Marcus talked about the collaborative collective spirit this band shares, which we witnessed as they hilariously composed and recorded a quick station id for Rich. They seem to engage quickly and easily, rapidly trying on a number of ideas and narrowing in on a plan… members of a single thinking entity. We’ll be airing that spot soon so stay tuned in and listen up, it was fun!
When asked about the band’s growing number of members Marcus laughingly said that he was working his way up to a 14 piece band. I thought about that joke later during the band’s performance. New Mountain Asheville is a big building and it takes a band with a big sound to do it right. The Marcus King band more than got that job done. While a winter storm howled outside, the theater was filled by the powerful performance of original work and covers, to include a most excellent rendition of Dear Prudence with Marcus’ cherished Gibson Big Red. Marcus had a lot to tell us about that guitar earlier in the evening in an interview we recorded pre show. It’s a special guitar.
The band has been touring steadily since the release of their album Soul Insight and it shows. The band makes the trek up to Asheville (from their home base in Greenville SC) regularly. We have been very fortunate to watch these men work and grow together. It’s no surprise that with so much really exciting growth that the performance was as good as I’ve seen, and I’ve seen them pretty good.
For more information check ‘em out on the web at www.marcuskingband.com
Stay on the lookout for a broadcast featuring our recorded interview with the Marcus King Band! We had a great talk that you will most definitely want to hear, discussing the upcoming album and much much more!