Review and Photography by Stacey Lovett
The Marcus King Band graced the Austin stage once again – a follow up to the bandleaders’ heavy string of SXSW shows that gained their hearts of the Lone Star State. Bringing his Carolina Confessions westward, he manifested his own destiny to spread the heart, soul, and sound of the South much further.
Also in tune with the soul of his own terrain was Georgia-bred Gabriel Kelley who opened the night with his swampy southern Americana folk. This one man band – armed with only a harmonica, a tambourine, 6 strings, a heartfelt understanding of life and an appreciation for the soulful musicians who have paved the way – drew in the crowd with this powerful respect for the soul sung out of authentically written words. Exhibiting what Gregg Allman taught him about feeling the blues, John Prine showed him in forming a sound, and Van Morrison lent him in feeling the love and essence of a song, he added in his own Georgia flavor to round out his show of appreciation for the soul of Americana folk music.
If you draw in the true essence of a song’s birthplace in the writing process it stakes special claim to the identity of the soul within. Songs of the South embrace this concept more than any other. Marcus King has tapped into that well, bleeding that southern life force that can only be bred from the land. His own influences of the generation prior stoked the flames of musical genius but his talents along with that of his band have a beautiful innate soulshine. These guys have been authentic from the start, never wavering from that which they feel and not succumbing to anything they’re not naturally. Their mentorship and backing they have received from the greats in their field prove this and encourage that essence to live on. Live, they unleash more jamming in their performance than they feature on their more intimate album recordings. This show brought a more comprehensive set featuring a sampling from each album as well as a nod to Austin’s own guitar royalty with Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “The Sky is Crying.” King’s guitar, too, sings a southern charm – a fusion of notes blend into a feeling beyond just a melody mediating the soul and translating the funk as a collective.
The band melds as one entity – a powerful storm of heart and soul drawing from the roots and harvesting their own piece of Americana blues rock. Jam music itself is a sound that unifies – a unification at the base level of humankind joining that heart and soul – and spirit – of the music at an instrumental level. The air about them extends out into the audience embracing them in the experience even higher. Marcus King’s guitar sings between the bass and brass with gentle tenacity creating a cohesive experience. At the end of their set, the band exited leaving the drummer to continue the heartbeat of the experience in a solo before returning to the stage for an encore debuting a brand new number and ending it with a touching confession.
As the Marcus King Band traverses the terrain of southern blues rock they successfully explore every corner of it throughout their time together – from 90s jam bands to 70s signature sound in the genre – coming together into their own fusion. And at 23 years of age, with his natural born ability to lead not only his band but the audience in the experience, weaving the landscape and the air of the South, there is indeed a vast lifetime ahead to share his beautiful soul insights with the world.
MARCUS KING PHOTO GALLERY
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GABRIEL KELLEY PHOTO GALLERY
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