Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Young band cooks up tasty ‘psychedelic southern rock’


Heather Herron

Whatzup Features Writer

Published July 11, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

Rising star in the guitar world brings his band to the Pavilion.

You could say that making music is in Marcus King’s blood. At just 23 years old, he’s been writing songs and performing for half of his life, drawing on inspiration from his fiddle-playing great-grandfather, guitarist/fiddler grandfather, and singer/guitarist father.

King is now a fourth-generation musician, proudly carrying on a family legacy.

Though he seems to have been born to make music, the journey to where he is today hasn’t been easy.

Challenging and rewarding

“It’s been as challenging as it’s been for every other young band,” King said. “It’s difficult to get something off the ground, you know. It’s the same as somebody opening up their own restaurant or starting their own company. It’s really parallel in my opinion. You’re going to have tremendous overhead for a while and you’re going to have a lot of people in your corner, but at the same time you have a lot of people who call themselves realists who try to knock you down. It can be challenging but it can be very, very rewarding.”

King and his band — drummer Jack Ryan, bass player Stephen Campbell, trumpeter/trombonist Justin Johnson, and sax player Dean Mitchell — released their third album in October, called Carolina Confessions. Now in the middle of a nationwide tour, they’ll stop in Fort Wayne on Sunday, July 21, to play at the Sweetwater Performance Pavilion. Tickets are on sale now ranging from $20 to $38.50. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7.

“We are incredibly excited to bring the Marcus King Band back to Fort Wayne,” said Thad Tegtmeyer, Sweetwater’s Vice President of Artist Relations. “Marcus is truly a rising star in the guitar world and his blend of soul, blues, and rock makes for a great show that any music fan will enjoy. This is a perfect all-ages show and an opportunity to see this artist in an intimate venue before he starts playing arenas.”

Writing from the heart — and heartache

King describes the band as “psychedelic southern rock” and says he leans heavily on his gospel, soul, blues, and rock n’ roll roots. There are even hints of country and bluegrass.

“The inspiration for my music is always derived from real-life situations and there’s never a shortage of those,” he said. “I’ve always said that I’ve been blessed with a lot of early heartbreak. It’s a really tender time of your life when you’re a teenager, everything seems like a disaster.

“I feel like being able to have those experiences early on allows me to write from a very sincere place. Now that I’m an adult, I’m able to look back on those experiences and write about them with a clear mind and perspective.”

Though King does all of the songwriting, there is a lot of collaboration that takes place.

“Our music is always evolving,” he said. “We’re six individual guys, but when we’re all together it’s really like one body. When I finish a song, what’s beautiful about our group is we have a very healthy dynamic. I write all the songs, I bring them to the group, and they provide their input. They all influence their own parts.”

Adapting the the environment

This summer’s tour dates include outdoor festivals and stadiums and everything in between. Adapting to the environment is key for King. He says it’s important to know your audience, no matter where you’re playing.

“For me, we just like a crowd to be into it,” King said. “If there’s a crowd that wants to get into it, that’s where we want to be.

“I’ve done it in large venues, I’ve done it in small venues. Small venues tend to be a lot more intimate, but when we’re playing in a large venue, however long my set is, my goal is to make it as intimate as possible while still being on that large level.”

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