I have been aware of Marcus King since he first started playing live shows with his father, Marvin, back around 2013 or so. I, like Marcus, am from upstate South Carolina, and his father used to frequent a local music store that I worked at as a teen. Marvin was always considered the best blues guitarist around. Even though I moved away, I’ve always paid attention to the South Carolina music scene looking for greatness. It wasn’t long after Marcus showed up on a stage, people around the upstate started talking about “Marvin’s son”. Fast forward to 2015 and the release of Soul Insight, Marcus’s first release. I was no longer just aware of Marcus King, I was a fan. By literally the 1:00 Minute mark of the second track “Boone” I was hooked. I couldn’t believe how good his songs and his playing were… and that voice. How could someone so young have such a soulful voice? I could see it at that moment, Marcus had the potential to be a huge artist. I’ve watched his career ever since.
Now as Marcus embarks upon the release of his latest project, Young Blood, he has become a musical juggernaut…plain and simple. On this release, Marcus draws from some of his musical influences and states that his vision was to capture the sound of some of the “classic power trios” such as Jimi Hendrix and ZZ Top. He does not disappoint. King once again enlisted the expertise of Dan Auerbach to produce and Allen Parker to engineer the project, who worked on his Grammy Nominated project, El Dorado. The production on this release is raw and larger than life. The release focus on Marcus’s virtuoso guitar playing, his powerhouse vocals, and a stellar rhythm section for the base tracks on the record. It’s reminiscent of the time when classic rock ruled the airwaves, and music took you on a journey to a different place.
“It’s Too Late” is the blistering lead track of off Young Blood. My first reaction when I heard it was “Finally! Marcus is doing the Rock Record! ” This is the Marcus King I first heard back in 2015 and I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of the tracks. “It’s Too Late” is a song about a failed relationship and conveys his thoughts perfectly with the attitude we’ve all wished we’ve had at some point after a break up.
“Hard Working Man” was the first single off of the release, and it quickly reminded me of classic Steve Miller Band. It’s a feel-good anthem, that initially gave me hope that this release could be stylistically different that some of his earlier releases. Marcus’s raspy voice seems to perfectly weave between the catchy melody of the chorus and the guitar driven track.
“Rescue Me” is a mid-tempo song that deals with overcoming struggles and difficult times in your life. When listening to this track, you get a sense of Marcus’s past pain and that this song was his therapeutic release from those emotions. The production is “swampy” similar to that of Creedence at its prime and is a perfect canvas for his lyrical journey.
“Blood on the Tracks” is one of the most anthemic tracks on the release. The verses and chorus instantly get stuck in your head, and before you know it you’re singing the song all day. This is no surprise when I found out that the song was co-written by iconic song writer Desmond Child (Aerosmith, KISS, Bon Jovi). The production on this track is not as intense as others, but stylistically it still works well with the other songs on the project and is one of the stand out tracks.
“Lie, Lie, Lie” is one of the songs on the release that most captures the “classic rock trio” feel and reminds the listener of the little old band from Texas. This track features some of Marcus’s fiercest guitar playing on the release which is perfectly paired with the powerhouse drums and bass on the track.
“Blues Worse Than I Ever Had” is the final track on the release and is more reminiscent of some of his earlier Americana leaning songs. The subject matter of the track deals with a time in Marcus’s past when he (by his own admission) was over medicating and eventually had to deal with the loss of a family member.
This is the rock record I’ve been wanting to hear from Marcus ever since the release of Soul Insight. Whether he’s playing the Ryman Auditorium with Billy Strings, opening for Chris Stapleton, or sitting in with Eric Clapton, he is a true musical force to be reckoned with. Marcus has done a seemingly effortless job of weaving through different genres of music whether it be rock, blues, soul, or country. Young Blood is an incredible rock record, and will surely catapult his career to new heights.
The Review: 9.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Hard Working Man
– It’s Too Late
– Lie, Lie, Lie
– Blood on the Tracks
The Big Hit
– Blood on the Tracks
Buy the album: Amazon