Southern blues-rock phenoms Marcus King Band have just one show in Michigan

BAY CITY, MI — Delta blues revivalism, a Memphis soul motif, and Southern-fried psychedelic rock are the three pillars of the Marcus King Band's sound. At just 19, their namesake leader is something of a guitar virtuoso belying his age.

Come Wednesday, June 15, the sextet is bringing their torrid and groove-laden sound to Bay City with a performance at BeMo's Bar, 701 S. Madison Ave. The group is on tour from their native Greenville, South Carolina, in support of debut LP "Soul Insight," released in October on Evil Teen Records, founded by Allman Brothers Band and Gov't Mule guitarist Warren Haynes. On Amazon.com, the 12-song album has a perfect five-star rating across 21 user reviews, a remarkable feat.

The band's stop in Bay City is one of 25 dates on the tour throughout the Midwest, South and East Coast and their only one in Michigan. Having opened for the likes of Foo Fighters, Gov't Mule, and Johnny Winter, this is their first headlining tour of this scale.

Apart from being a phenom on the six-string — oft compared to the likes of Gregg Allman and Derek Trucks — King is also making waves for his songwriting craft and evocative voice, a supple, raspy tenor similar to that of Ray LaMontagne.

King took a few minutes to speak with The Times about his music and what BeMo's attendees can expect from his band's performance.

MLive: How'd you get your start as a musician?

Marcus King: My family all played, so I was always surrounded by it when was really young. I was always banging around on something since I remember. At about 7 or 8 is the time I really got serious about it. I was more concerned with the drums, but as I got a little bit older, the guitar slowly turned into my main focus and my main way to express myself musically. I started gigging with my dad full-time when I was about 8. Later, around 13 or 14, I started singing. I just wanted another dimension to my expressive capabilities musically.

MLive: Being from the South, were the bluesman like Son House and Charlie Patton much of an influence on you?

MK: My father was always really big into the blues. He was turning me onto all the kings, Robert Johnson and stuff like that. My granddad turned me on to Willie Nelson and George Jones and that's where a lot of my songwriting comes from, those good, old storytelling songs. I still listen to that stuff and I love it. I started listening to jazz when I got to middle school, high school age. I was really heavy into that for a while, and still am. Miles Davis, John Coltrane set that stuff in motion for me.

MLive: What sources do you pull from in your songwriting?

MK: Recently, I've been writing more of those storyteller tunes, from more of a third-person point of view. For the most part, it's all from a very personal place. Writing has always been a very personal thing for me. It came from a place of hurt and the deeper crevices of my mind that I could pull from.

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