The first time I heard Marcus King, I already knew he was a musical protégé discovered by Warren Haynes with whom he shared musical similarities. By the next album, he was doing these jazz, blues swings with a bit of Santana thrown in. The problem was he was as good as Carlos or any of his other contemporaries. So how does a kid like this gain wisdom so fast? Good question… He considers his 4th release a debut and understandably so. Recorded and produced at Easy Eye Studio by Black Keys front man Dan Auerbach in Nashville, Marcus has released this opus, El Dorado, on his own label, Fantasy Records.
Judging by his Instagram, I truly believe Marcus is touring and rolling down freeways in his El Dorado, and deservingly so. At his young age, the guy has already conquered the Grand Ol Opry while capturing the hearts of thousands (destined to be millions) with his southern gospel voice and imperial guitar playing. It’s all in there… blues, jazz, post-modern day rock. The kids got it all rolling around the same block as Gary Clark Jr. by not pigeonholing himself into one hot box or mind space.
If ya’ll will, please dial into 101.07 FM (and 56.9 AM for the rest of you good people), and let me tell ya a story about Mr. Marcus King as I ride shotgun in “El Dorado.”
Well, we just love the song “The Well.” How about you?
“Young Man’s Dream” sounds like a forgotten outtake from Rod Stewart’s Gasoline Alley. “The Well” has that Black Keys tone in production and influence. “Beautiful Stranger” is straight-up sipping on a cocktail evening date with your gal, followed by a beautiful stroll home in “Break” while Marcus croons “don’t let your heart break for nobody but me.”
Station identification as there’s Motown pouring down over El Dorado at the moment and we just backed into a car wash with “Say You Will.” “Turn It Up” has that vibe of pulling into an Oklahoma truck stop at 4 am in search of a chilli dog and a six-pack with the cashier batting her eyelashes at ya and selling beer during liquor curfew. “Too Much Whiskey” is an updated version of “Hand Jive” sounding like Willie Nelson’s backing band is hot on the boot heels of Marcus’ guitfiddle guitar tailpiece.
“Love Song” has Smokey Robinson in mind strolling through New York City on a brisk fall night and “No Pain” has got me feeling Isaac Hays but, of course, with Mr. King singing. There’s a little margarita salt acoustic thrown into “Light Up The Night” which leads me to an epiphany. For decades now we’ve had the three kings in Albert, Freddie and BB. There just might be a fourth amongst them.
Rolling down Highway 61, Marcus has a tight car, a beautiful blonde in his arms, and the once-kid-now-full-grown-man has the world beneath his feet. The guy is going out on a limb in so many ways while barking up the same tree. I believe if you want to make a dent in crossover blues music you need to broaden your horizons and jump headfirst into the sunset. Here’s looking at you, kid.
An acoustic performance by Marcus King and Dan Auerbach of the track “Beautiful Stranger” at Easy Eye Sound:
El Dorado Track Listing:
01. “Young Man’s Dream” (Marcus King, Dan Auerbach, Pat McLaughlin)
02. “The Well” (King, Auerbach, Ronnie Bowman)
03. “Wildflowers & Wine” (King, Auerbach, Bowman)
04. “One Day She’s Here” (King, Auerbach, McLaughlin)
05. “Sweet Mariona” (King, Auerbach, Bowman)
06. “Beautiful Stranger” (King, Auerbach, Paul Overstreet)
07. “Break” (King, Auerbach, McLaughlin)
08. “Say You Will” (King, Auerbach, Bowman)
09. “Turn It Up” (King, Auerbach, Overstreet)
10. “Too Much Whiskey” (King, Auerbach, Overstreet)
11. “Love Song” (King, Auerbach, Bobby Wood)
12. “No Pain” (King, Auerbach, McLaughlin)
Run Time: 40:13
Release Date: January 17, 2020
Record Label: Fantasy Records