REVIEW: Marcus King’s “El Dorado” is Neo-Soul Country Blues Fix


With a voice of a soul singer and country instrumentations, 23 year old Marcus King showcases his skills on El Dorado (Fantasy Recordings) with streamlined songwriting and precise performance. Recorded at Nashville’s Easy Eye Studios and produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, El Dorado is available now.

Album opener, “Young Man’s Dream” paints a picture of a man hitting the open road in search of fulfillment told through a high soul vocal reminiscent of Sam Cook, while “The Well” brings the musical muscle, digging deep into electric blues, and a grittier vocal closer to a fired-up late-night AM preacher. “Wildflowers and Wine” strips away the grit for a clean emotive slow blues cut compete with crisp guitar lines and backing singers.

“Sweet Mariona” bustles with a near salsa rhythm mixed with pedal steel to create an escape to easy times and laid back vibes, “from the moment I met you, you knew how to get to my heart,” King sings. Swooning strings make an appearance on “Break”; fuzzed out guitars appear on “Say You Will”.

“Turn It Up” leans into funky basslines and a barely holding onto the rails roll, “99 miles an hour down a dead end street…dancing with the devil bought to be trouble, damn don’t it feel so sweet…and I still want to turn it on up.” “Two Much Whiskey” plays up on the Little Feat influences while maintaining its own originality deep in this good time groove driven by a highway harmonica.

On El Dorado, Marcus King offers up a wide variety of influences and interests while maintaining cohesion via quality songwriting and performances throughout. Been jonesing for your neo-soul country blues fix, then pick up a copy of El Dorado today.

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