Marcus King Band carries the torch
Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., November 18, 2018
Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
With the Allmans no longer on the scene, the Marcus King Band just may be ready to carry the torch if the first of two-sold shows in the Boston area was any indication.
King may be only 22, but with three albums under his belt and the new "Carolina Confessions" recorded with uber producer Dave Cobb at RCA Studio A in Nashville, and a tight band, he gave ample reason over the course of nearly two hours to give credence to the idea that he just might be the worthy successor to the Allmans.
King certainly obliged with his guitar prowess throughout the evening. He was lightning quick on long, but understated, runs that enabled the musicians to stretch it out into jams that recalled the Allmans. King certainly was the centerpiece of the music thanks to his considerable guitar skills. In fact, the band offered their take on the Allmans' "Hot 'Lanta."
But this was most definitely not a one-man band. With most of the group hailing from Greenville, S.C., they worked as a team. A two-piece horn section of Justin Johnson on trumpet and Dean Mitchell on sax provided the songs with more punch. Not to mention keyboardist DeShawn "D-Vibes" Alexander," who added a more soulful vibe to the sound.
As a singer, King has a sandpapery voice that referenced Ray LaMontagne, but with a much bluesier accent. Not only did he did excel on his own material, but deserves credit for a few covers. "Dear Prudence" may seem like an odd choice for a bluesman, but King did The Beatles' song proud. "The Weight" from The Band may have seemed like more obvious choice, but King was up to the challenge. Ditto for his take on Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" as the first encore song.
King wasn't held captive by covers as his own material stood up well.
Some artists could be burdened with having such a trailblazing band like the Allmans as an obvious reference point. King not only wore the badge with pride and honor, but offered his own set of considerable skills again and again.