Two years ago Marcus King emerged as a fresh-faced bluesy jammer with serious guitar chops and a soulful voice that sounded well beyond his years. The 2016-released eponymous debut album by his six-piece band was produced by Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes and featured King trading fierce licks with Derek Trucks. In the time since, King has been tearing up the festival circuit, sharing stage time with members of the Allman Brothers Band and touring with Chris Robinson in a project that revived the songs of the Black Crowes.
This month King is expanding his musical reach even further with the release of his second album, Carolina Confessions. The new set (out October 5) was produced by Nashville go-to Dave Cobb and recorded at the city’s legendary RCA Studio A. Standout track “Welcome ‘Round Here” features swampy psychedelic riffs and funky horn vamps, while “Homesick” is an earnest retro R&B confessional. While King writes most of his own tunes, “How Long” features an assist from the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and Nashville veteran Pat McLaughlin.
The new record will be celebrated with a two-day festival, the Marcus King Band Family Reunion, at Pisgah Brewery in Black Mountain, N.C., on October 5-6. Additional acts on the bill include the Revivalists, Billy Strings, Nikki Lane, and Carl Broemel. King will also play additional dates in the South later in the fall.
Gillian Welch to Receive Literary Honors
Gillian Welch is well known for her ability to craft vivid snapshots of bygone eras through original songwriting. It’s not surprising, then, that academics in the field of literature would take notice of her lyrics that often tell engaging tales through an authentic old-time lens. This month the Nashville-based singer-songwriter will be awarded the Thomas Wolfe Prize by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of English & Comparative Literature. Wolfe, the influential late author who died at just 37 in 1938, graduated from UNC in 1920.
Established in 1999, the Wolfe Prize honors writers with distinguished bodies of work, and past winners include Jill McCorkle, Larry Blount, Jr., and Tom Wolfe (no relation). Welch, the first musician to receive the award, has released five albums since 1996, including the Americana landmarks, Revival, Time (The Revelator), and Soul Journey. On October 2, Welch will accept the award at a special event called “The Story in Song: Conversation and Music with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings,” alongside her steadfast musical partner at the university’s Moeser Auditorium in Hill Hall. Welch will also headline one night of the Festy Experience at Infinity Downs in Arrington, Va., on October 6.
You’re probably too old to trick or treat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a costume and catch one of these regional shows on October 31.
Bob Dylan: Tennessee Theatre, Knoxville, Tenn.
The folk legend turned gritty song-and-dance man will play his first U.S. dates of the year this fall, and a big chunk of his upcoming run visits the South, including a Halloween gig in Knoxville. Dylan is 77, so stop complaining that he can’t sing “Blowin’ in the Wind” like he used to, and catch him while you can.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic: Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C.
Another musician who’s 77 years old—George Clinton—has put a timetable on touring. Dr. Funkenstein will retire from the road next spring, so if you want to get down to “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” plus cuts from Medicaid Dog Fraud, Parliament’s first new album in 38 years, get to D.C. on Halloween.
Rubblebucket: Terminal West, Atlanta, Ga.
This Brooklyn indie-pop crew always delivers a dance party, full of horn-fueled funky fun. This fall the band will be sharing tunes from new release Sun Machine and leading a triple bill that includes Diet Cig and Star Rover.
Dweezil Zappa: Diana Wortham Theater, Asheville, N.C.
With his public family feuding seemingly in the rearview, Dweezil Zappa is back to focusing on what he does best, exploring his prolific father Frank’s extensive catalog of zany, heady rock-fusion compositions, always including familiar favorites and deep cuts.
Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett: Miller Theater, Augusta, Ga.
These two iconic Texas troubadours have become frequent tour mates. Expect both to look back on the best of their respective discographies during an acoustic evening of swapping stories and songs.
The Oh Hellos: Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, Va.
Led by the brother-and-sister duo of Tyler and Maggie Heath, this eight-piece indie folk ensemble makes joyful noise with swells of strings, sweet harmonies, and sing-along choruses ready to turn your Halloween into a cathartic jamboree.
Lettuce and Turkuaz: Salvage Station, Asheville, N.C.
Jambands are known for delivering the goods on Halloween, particularly when it comes to fun covers. Expect the unexpected from these two adventurous funk-driven outfits.
Front Country: Capital Ale House, Richmond, Va.
Front Country is a string band with a fresh take on the genre, blending skilled fret work with pop songcraft, propelled by the soaring vocals of front woman Melody Walker. In a short time the group’s sound has earned honors at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and a growing legion of fans across the country.