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Mill City Sound and The Marcus King Band – Carolina Confessions

July 13, 2019

In a recent post, I talked about how we used to discover music before the internet. I mentioned radio, magazines, reputations and cover art. I forgot another valuable source: the record store clerk.

The stereotypical record store clerk is so aloof that you are afraid to ask about a selection for fear of judgment: “your music taste sucks!” But when you find a friendly and knowledgeable record store clerk you are golden. They will provide you with amazing recommendations and great conversation.

I was recently at Mill City Sound in Hopkins Mn to pick up the latest Black Keys record. Naturally, I needed to dig through the new used crates. The record store clerk noted that he had the same Chris Robinson Brotherhood T-shirt as I was wearing. When I got to the checkout we started to talk about music and he mentioned (no raved) about the Marcus King Band. Given my T-shirt, he was confident I would love it. Well, I was not going to pass that up. “So you got a copy?” I asked. He jumped out from behind the counter and headed to the crates. He whipped out a copy. I took it up to the counter and a different guy had now taken over the register. He starts to ring it up and raves what a great record Carolina Confessions is. That was some serious hype. I left the store on a very positive note and went home to give the album a spin hoping the LP would live up to the hype. It lives up to the hype.

Marcus King has sweet sandpaper vocals, somewhere between Gregg Allman and Janis Joplin. Oh and he plays guitar too – regular and pedal steel! Did I mention he is a songwriter? King was 20 when he recorded this album – King is a wunderkind.

Per the band’s website:

“Marcus King has been writing songs and performing onstage for half his lifetime, delivering a southern fried brand of blues and psychedelia inspired by rock n’ roll…King is a Blue Ridge Mountain boy, born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina. A fourth-generation musician, he traces his lineage back to his fiddle-playing great grandfather, while his grandfather was a fiddler and guitarist. His dad is Marvin King, is a singer/guitarist who has toured nationally since the ‘70’s with various artists as well as his own group, Marvin King and Blue Revival. Since he was a teenager, he’s been trading licks with famous fans and mentors Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks whenever their paths have crossed.”

On first listen, my response was this is a nice Allman Brothers inspired blues-rock. But it did not knock me out. King’s performance is subtle and nuanced. It reveals the fire on repeated spins. By the fourth spin, I am loving this.

The Marcus King Band sounds like a big band, but it is merely a six-piece – again from the band’s website:

“…drummer Jack Ryan, bass player Stephen Campbell, trumpeter/trombonist Justin Johnson, sax player Dean Mitchell and keyboard player DeShawn “D-Vibes” Alexander—create a blistering, yet soulful unit that has honed their synergy through endless touring.”

If you like guitar based jamming blues-rock you are going to like The Marcus King Band – Carolina Confessions.

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From → Music Reviews

3 Comments
  1. Great story. If memory serves, the fella that opened Mill City Sound was formally a blogger called 45spin. I remember him commenting on a number of early Vinyl Connection posts and his excitement about ‘living the dream’ of opening his own shop. Good to hear it is still going and kicking goals.

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