Two Upstate Musicians Shine - The State

Following their dreams, two young Greenville musicians are making a stamp on the music world. Both are releasing or re-releasing albums this fall.

When he has a few days home from traveling and playing with his band, Marcus King looks forward to playing music in his favorite hangouts with fellow songwriters and musicians.

“I enjoy peddle steel guitar and getting together with local songwriter friends,” King said.

When he’s in town, you’ll find him at Smiley’s on Tuesday nights; on Wednesdays, you’re more likely to find him at Gottrocks.

“If we’re not playing, we are practicing and honing our crafts and always keep the bigger picture in mind,” he said.

For him, that bigger picture is simple: “Just play music and live a sustainable life and play for people who really want to hear it.”

Known for his ability to blend rock, funk, blues and jazz, King found his love of music and his ability to perform at a very early age. The son of Marvin King, a veteran touring bluesman, King learned to play a fret board at age 2. At age 11, he made his professional debut at The Handlebar in Greenville opening for blues legend Mac Arnold.

“My great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncles all play and were constantly big supporters of me playing,” King said. “They never forced me into it; they just made me realize what I wanted to do from a very early age.”

He now attributes his career to his family and to an early teacher, Steve Watson, who taught King jazz theory and jazz performance at Greenville’s Fine Arts Center when King was in high school. Watsona formidable guitarist renowned for his performance on TV’s seminal “Hill Street Blues” theme song, fueled King’s knowledge of Southern rock

Now 19 and headliner of the Marcus King Band, King and his bandmates plan to spend the fall traveling, promoting and playing shows featuring songs from their album, “Soul Insight.” The album will be re-released this fall. It features 12 original tunes that according to the band’s website, “showcase a literal lifetime of virtuosity, along with vocals as clear and as soulful as Marvin Gaye’s and as nuanced as Amy Winehouse’s.”

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