Recap – The Marcus King Band – New Mountain – February 12, 2016

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The Marcus King Band – New Mountain Asheville, NC – February 12, 2016

The Marcus King Band has been steadily gaining momentum over the past eighteen months.   The band, based out of Greenville, South Carolina, have become known for regularly delivering bombastic live sets at various venues within Asheville’s city limits.

Continuing to tour on their recently re-released debut CD Soul Insight the band pulled into Asheivlle last Friday to perform at New Mountain.   Just under a year ago the MKB would typically play to 50-75 people at smaller venues around town, however, in recent months word on the street has apparently spread as MKB is now beginning to play larger venues that are either nearly sold out or sold out all together.

The band, recently signed to Warren Haynes’ label Evil Teen records, has been up in Stamford, Connecticut laying down tracks for their sophomore release with the Asheville legend serving as the record’s producer.

Plenty has been written about Marcus King’s bombastic guitar playing and soulful southern voice and rightfully so but it’s important to note that the Marcus King Band is not simply a one man show.

Jack Ryan (drums), Justin Johnson (horns), Stephen Campbell (bass), Matthew Jennings (keyboards) and the recently added Dean Mitchell on saxophone bring a high level of musical aptitude and energy to the band’s performance that help lift the Marcus King Band to levels live that go beyond well your typical jam band fare.

The band’s performance on the evening featured song MKB classics, a few newer songs that will likely appear on the band’s soon to be released sophomore effort and a couple of unique covers that included snippets of the Beatles “Dear Prudence”, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” and an absolutely jaw dropping take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”.

The band also had Asheville based bass virtuoso Cody Wright (Jonathan Scales Fourchestra) sit in for a few numbers.  All I convey about Wright’s time on stage with the MKB band is holy sh*t!!! I personally would love to see Wright combine with King and MKB band drummer Jack Ryan to form a power rock trio.  The force these three brilliant musicians could create together on record and under the lighted stage would most certainly be super charged.

The Marcus King Band has lifted off with an explosion of blues, rock, soul and psychedelia that is without question going to see their trajectory launch well beyond the southeast.  Proof of this alone is the fact that the MKB has already been booked to play in Austin at South By Southwest later this year as well as Mountain Jam later this summer where they will share the stage with such music titans as Beck, Gov’t Mule, Gary Clark Jr. Lettuce, Wilco and others.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again in these pages; I highly suggest that you get out and see the Marcus King Band at these intimate venues and for short dollars while you still can. I assure you it will not be too long before the band is regularly playing much larger venues at shows that will definitely put a much larger dent in your wallet.

A brief aside New Mountain as a venue has come a long way recently. Maybe it’s just me but it seems as though the sound is bigger and more fluid than it’s every been inside the venue’s walls.

Already known as one Asheville’s premier venues, myself and every other live music fan can only hope that these improvements are but a harbinger of greater things from the folks over at New Mountain.


One to Attend – SIMO – Pisgah Brewing Company – February 4, 2016 8:00 PM


SIMO – Performing at the Open Chord in Knoxville, Tennessee – 2/3/2016

Does a band that oozes the same pedigree as rock royalty such as Led Zeppelin, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Deep Purple, Steppenwolf among others and whose live performance leaves audiences in a state of shock and awe seem like something you’d be interested in listening to and seeing yourself first hand?

If so I beg and plead, not for the band nor the venue but to your very musical souls, that you attend SIMO’s show tonight February 4th at the Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, North Carolina staring at 8:00 PM

The band’s new record Let Love Show the Way is one of the most musically inspiring records I’ve come across over the last decade. The LP spits out salvo after salvo of sheer rock genius and bombast that any fan of 60’s and 70’s vintage and retro rock will surely fall in love with.

Let Love Show the Way is a complete record that implores to you to kick back, put on your best pair of head phones and drift away into it’s vast soundscapes.  Some stand out tracks include “Long May You Sail”, “I’d Rather Die in Vain”,  “Ain’t Doin Notin'” and “I’ll Always Be Around”.

Just in case you actually needed a bit more evidence regarding SIMO being a legitimate rock and roll force, Let Love Show the Way was recorded live at the famed Allman Brothers “Big House” in Macon, Georgia with JD Simo (guitar/vocals) himself actually playing Duane Allman’s ’57 Les Paul Goldtop on most of the record.   How’s that for legendary musical lineage street cred people?

Below you’ll find a link where you can listen to “Long Mail You Sail”.  If this song’s guitar solos alone don’t convince you to get out to Pisgah tonight to see SIMO live I question if you have ears or even if know what great music is.

As astounding as SIMO’s work is on record their live performance amps up the band’s musical force factor a thousand times over as Simo and his fellow band mates Adam Abrashoff (drums) and Elad Shapiro (bass) are literally musicians’ musicians that live and breathe to perform with one another.

It’s also worth mentioning SIMO is an improvisational live performance dynamo.  Let Love Show Way was actually written and recorded by the band with the intent of exploring and interpreting the songs on LP in unique ways when they make their way to lighted stage.

Should you choose to make the mistake of not getting out to SIMO’s show later this evening the words “your loss” wouldn’t even come close to describing what you’d be missing out.

Who:    SIMO w / Mike Rhoades Fellowship and the Humble

When:  Thursday  February 4th / 8:00 PM Doors – 9:00 PM Show

Where:  Pisgah Brewing Company / 150 Eastside Drive, Black Mountain, NC 28711

Cost:      $7 In advance / $10 At the door



One to Attend – Andrew Scotchie’s 23rd Birthday Bash – Saturday January 16, 2016


Tomorrow night I strongly encourage folks to get over to the ISIS Music Hall to take in Andrew Scotchie’s birthday show which will feature a performance by Scotchie’s own rock outfit Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, sublime singer-song writer Danielle Howle and progressive funk-rock band Porch 40.

Fans who attend will also have the opportunity witness to a few unique collaborations between Scotchie and local Asheville musicians such as David Earl Tomlinson, Jack Mascari, Noah Larssen and others.

Although tomorrow’s show is being billed as Scotchie’s 23rd birthday bash, the event will also be taking place with the underlining theme of celebrating the life of Scotchie’s father Tom, whose life was tragically cut short back in 2008.

Back in September I interviewed Scotchie and he briefly touched on his father’s passing and how it affected him and his music.

“My life got turned upside down when I was 15 when my dad was shot and killed in West Asheville.  That was the worst thing that had ever happened to me.   That fucked up horrible event in a way made me who I am today, it made me want to do this thing so adamantly and with so much vigor,” Scotchie somberly discussed.

“I’ve been writing about that event for years and what it has taught me about people and family.  The first album we released in 2012, the songs were not sad but the lyrics I wrote for it were more about helping me work through what had happened.   Even the new album has notes alluding to it as I’m definitely still working through it all because that’s who I am but it’s coming from a much different place now.”

Scotchie is the type of individual that revels in life, good times and the continued pursuit of great rock and roll.   Come out tomorrow night to help him continue to pursue those endeavors, to take in a some great live music and to help him celebrate the life and times of Tom Scotchie, who by all accounts had a tremendously positive impact on his family, friends and the Asheville community his family still calls home.

I have a sneaky suspicion that somewhere in the interstellar planes that we all eventually drift into Tom will be smiling, rocking out and feeling a tremendous amount of pride as he looks down on his son Andrew knowing that he’s turned out to be one hell of a musician and even more importantly, one hell of a human being.

Who:     Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, Danielle Howle and Porch 40 + special guests

When:   Saturday January 16, 2016  /  Show 9:00 PM

Where:  ISIS Music Hall /  743 Haywood Road

Cost:      $10 advance/  $12 Day of Show

One to Attend – Sirius.B / Megan Jean & the KFB / Plankeye Peggy / ISIS Music Hall / Friday Dec. 18th



Any Asheville live music lover interested in a night of quality gypsy punk madness, demented Americana, pirate rock and avant-garde soundscapes should take the opportunity to join in on the fun over at ISIS Music Hall this upcoming Friday December 18th.

Asheville area favorites Sirius.B will serve as the evening’s headliner and are all but guaranteed to deliver one of the high energy and unpredictable performances that have seen the the band regularly being recognized as one of area’s favorite local bands.  The band, often compared to gypsy punk heroes Gogol Bordello, bring a multi-instrumental approach to the stage where they’ll play foreign music as well as inventive originals that will have audience members dancing and singing along in a state of euphoric glee.


Megan Jean and the KFB

Joining Sirius.B will be Megan Jean and the KFB (Klay Family Band).  This married duo combines elements of innovative percussion, electrified banjo and unique vocals to create a macabre vaudevillian folk punk sound that has lead to the band sharing the stage with bands many Asheville locals have an affinity for such as Rising Appalachia and Shovels and Rope.

Rounding out the line up for the evening’s performance will be Asheville carnival and pirate rock outfit Plankeye Peggy.   The band seems a perfect fit for the bill as their live show presentation and sound meld perfectly with those of both Sirius.B and Megan Jean and the KFB.


Plankeye Peggy

Who:      Sirius.B, Megan Jean & the KFB and Plankeye Peggy

When:    Friday December 18, 2015 / Show 9:00 PM

Where:   ISIS Music Hall and Restaurant / 743 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806

Cost:       $8 Advanced / $10 Day of Show





You’re Going to Know His Name – Marcus King – The Marcus King Band

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The Marcus King Band performing at the Orange Peel on December 3, 2015

Standing at the corner of Biltmore and Hilliard in front of the Orange Peel where Marcus King and his band would later play, a white van towing a trailer begins veering closer to my position as I flick a few ashes of my first cigarette of the day toward the concrete walkway.

The vehicle slowly drives past me taking a wide right onto Hilliard when a mane of flowing golden brown hair pops out of the passenger’s side window and out bellows this singular word, “Bob.”

The individual behind this street corner drive by shout out turns out to be Marcus King himself, welcoming me in his own unique way, as he had invited me to the band’s sound check for their headlining performance at the 14th Annual Make-A-Wish benefit concert.

The van parks curb side and one by one King and his fellow band mates in the Marcus King Band, Jack Ryan (drums), Justin Johnson (trombone/trumpet), Matt Jennings (organ) and Stephen Campbell (bass) stumble out, each greeting me with a variety of handshakes, hugs and head nods as they begin to unload their gear and the process of hauling it into the belly of the Orange Peel.

A short amount of time passes before King and the remainder of the band take to the Peel’s stage. King himself is heavily involved with the process of arranging the band’s gear and the sound checking of each and every instrument.

He’s methodical and deliberate, patiently thinking out each move as if he’s playing a game a musical chess in his own head. At one point, prior to the full fledged band sound check, King makes his way over to Jennings and the two share a few words as King plays a few notes on Jennings instrument of choice, the organ.

This interaction provides a moment of levity while also seemingly being an integral part of King’s primary mission, to make sure he’s personally doing everything possible to ensure that the band puts on a performance worthy of the audience paying to see the band later that evening.

Following sound check I find myself immersed in a musical oriented conversation to the side of the stage about drumming with local musician Christopher Chappell Pyle, son of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and drummer for Lynyrd Skynrd, Atrimus Pyle, both of whom will be performing later that night as well.   To the right of Chappell Pyle and I King is seated atop a bar stool strumming what I think may be a 1973 Gibson Les Paul Deluxe.

While fiddling around on the instrument King mentions to another individual how the brand’s quality greatly declined following the sale of the company back in the early 1970’s.   King is referring to Gibson being taking over by Norlin Musical Instruments in 1974, which coincided with a widely held industry opinion that Gibson Les Paul guitars would never be the same following this transition.

Normally I might take this kind of musical observation coming from a nineteen-year-old as aberrant, however, as it pertains to King’s playing and the man himself both come off as old soul oriented and wise beyond their years.  The fact that King knows the history of the Gibson Les Paul company thus comes off to me as entirely appropriate.

Following a brief conversation with his girlfriend outside of the Orange Peel King agrees to walk me north towards Nightbell, the Asheville eatery I had chose for our sit down.

Marcus King is what most would refer to as a prodigious talent.  The sheer mastery of blues, soul, R&B and rock guitar is something that even the vast majority of the greatest players on this planet today spend a lifetime honing.

However, for a select few, their talent seems destined from the womb, seemingly passed onto them genetically via tiny musical specs of DNA. Count King among these individuals as anyone that bares witness to King performing will surely walk away with the opinion that this man was literally born, if not preordained, to wield an axe on stage.

Those facts not withstanding it comes as no surprise to find that King is a direct descendant of musicians.  His father Marvin King, a respected blues guitar player in his own right and his grandfather Bill King, who played guitar as well, were both instrumental in King’s musical journey.

“The first guitar I ever really owned was a Squier Stratocaster that I got from my dad on my seventh birthday but prior to that I think I was playing a miniature scale Les Paul,” said King.

King continued while laughing, “I remember vividly most of my friends wanting to play outside when I was a kid but all I ever really wanted to do was play that guitar.”

It’s not entirely uncommon for relatives and parents when they see children having a knack or a talent for something at a young age to push them a bit as youths.  King explained that his experience was quite divergent from this line of action.

“They (King’s father and grandfather) were never pushy, they just strongly motivated me,” said King.

King further mused on topic, “I think they saw what I saw, that music could be a positive thing.  Kids go through some hard times and for me adolescence was a real bitch and having an outlet to put all of that into was really great. I think that they saw I wanted it as much as they did when they were young.”

King’s grandfather passed away a few years back but when King spoke about him it was apparent that the man was still very much in the forefront of King’s thoughts.

“My grandfather was really influential in my life.  He taught me how to be humble and how to listen rather than just being another guy that was playing on top of everyone else.  He really helped me become a more well rounded musician,” said King.

King further went on to talk about his musical lineage, “My father was really the same way.  He schooled me on the “Three Kings” (Freddie King, Albert King and B.B. King) the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and all that great stuff.”

Marvin King did not push his son towards the lighted stage as it’s something King seemed to have known he wanted for himself even as toddler.

“I think I was two when I first went up on stage with my dad with this fake guitar strapped around my neck.  I was on stage with my dad my whole childhood but I didn’t start actually seriously playing with his band until I was about eleven years-old,” explained King.

One would think based on King’s talent as well as his familiarity and comfort with live performance at such a young age that at some point he’d seek to carve out his own musical path.

King would end up starting his own band at the age of thirteen called Simultaneous Groove.  Simultaneous Groove over time would eventually slowly morph into the Marcus King Band fans see on stage today.

King said, “I think the first time the band that exists today played together was at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta in October of 2014.  We only played in front of like seven or eight people that night but the chemistry on stage was really fun.”

King hails from nearby Greenville, South Carolina and it’s somewhat widely known that he and the band consider Asheville a sister city.  Considering King’s relationship with Asheville and some of its local musicians I’m not surprised to learn that it was through mutual acquaintances that Warren Haynes, of the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule fame, was eventually introduced to King’s music directly.

King went on to talk about how his and Haynes relationship came to fruition.

“We played the Jam by Day at the Christmas Jam last year and at that time I didn’t realize that performance was going to be kind of a live audition. Ever since then we’ve been working together and Warren’s been a really great friend and mentor and it’s such a great thing to have,” said King.

Fans won’t have to wait too long before they get a taste of new music from the Marcus King Band as they plan to go back into the studio this upcoming January with Haynes himself producing the band’s sophomore release.  The band’s debut LP, Soul Insight, was just recently released this past October by Haynes’s own label, Evil Teen Records.

King at the wise old age of a nineteen is both reticent and unpretentious as well as one of the most gifted musicians you’ll ever have the pleasure to come across.  I’m guessing King is what all of us at some point in our lives wished we would or could aspire to, talented, appreciated, humble and honest.

Another thing that helps to separate King from countless musicians who see their star on rise is that when speaking he won’t go too long without expressing an immense sense of gratitude and praise for his family and the people he’s surrounded by that have and continue to help him and the band move forward.

I would think this sense of genuine humility ingrained within King will not only help to keep him grounded but it’s something that I’d bet his grandfather and father are as much proud of as they are of his extraordinary talent.

Renowned guitar player Gary Clark Jr. has a single, “Bright Lights”, that contains these lyrics, “You’re going to know my name.”

I’m not sure that I could write any words that would be more applicable to King himself because I feel beyond confident that it won’t be very long before millions of fans around the globe are going to know the name Marcus King.

Seasons greetings and don’t forget to check out the Marcus King Band and many other great acts taking part in this year’s Christmas Jam by Day being hosted by the One Stop and the Asheville Music Hall this upcoming Saturday December 12th.

Who:         The Marcus King Band

When:       Saturday December 12, 2015 / Afternoon 12 PM – 5 PM

Where:      Asheville Music Hall / One Stop

Cost:          $10

Additional Performances by:  Andrew Scotchie and The River Rats, ChessBoxer, Jahman Brahman, Love Canon, Lyric, Red Honey, Travers Brothership, Trouble ft. Shane Pruitt & Aaron Wood and Urban Soil.