Marcus King (of the South)
With the Dan Auerbach-produced "El Dorado", the junior songwriter from South Carolina is back with an explosive cocktail of rock, blues, country and soul. Vintage but contemporary!
After three albums under the name The Marcus King Band (Soul Insight in 2015, the eponymous The Marcus King Band in 2016 and Carolina Confessions in 2018), the Southern prodigy now operates under simply his own name.
At only 23 years old, the South Carolina kid has always played freely, a craftsman of a very location-oriented bluesy rock, with outlaw country influences as well as timeless soul à la Atlantic/Stax. Unsurprisingly, El Dorado juggles between sounds that are akin to The Allman Brothers, Faces, The Black Crowes, Gov’t Mule, Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street. This time, King has called in Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys for production, in order to focus more on the songwriting and the songs’ commercial potential. The spirit of infinite jam sessions that soundtrack a night of slow drinking feels as if it’s been left behind, in favour of more constricted songs.
All the better: El Dorado is a flow of Al Green-esque soulful slows (Wildflowers & Wine), more uptempo ballads (One Day She’s Here) and country rock hits (Too Much Whiskey, a nod to Willie Nelson’s Whiskey River). Marcus King has the vocals of a weathered soulman, sometimes conjuring up the golden age of Rod Stewart with Faces or John Fogerty from Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Furthermore, to breathe even more history into his album, King brought in drummer Gene Chrisman and pianist Bobby Wood, big names of the American Sound Studio who have played with Dusty Springfield and Elvis. Paul Franklin’s pedal steel guitar even makes a feature. But under this avalanche of sounds, influences, names and vintage tones which could quickly submerge the main artist, Marcus King possesses a highly original personality, something which this album manages to strongly transmit to the listener.