El Dorado sees Marcus King team up with Dan Auerbach to create a warm and delicious bowl of southern soul with a side of Nashville gold.
A 1967 Eldorado by Cadillac advertisement reads “…a blend of power and poise, of elegance and excitement, of daring and distinction. Eldorado is a styling masterpiece – long, low, clean and classic.” The Eldorado sounds like a pretty sweet ride; just like the new El Dorado album by Marcus King. This album begs you to sit back while it hugs every curve and rolls through country, soul, and rhythm & blues.
El Dorado is Marcus King’s first solo album. Marcus and good friend Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) have created 12 tracks along with renowned songwriters Pat McLaughlin, Paul Overstreet, and Ronnie Bowman. This is truly a solo album for Marcus. Instead of recording with the rest of the guys in the Marcus King Band, his adventure takes him to Easy Eye studio in Nashville to jam with legendary studio artists. Included in this work are Dave Roe (bass – who has played with Jerry Reed), Bobby Wood (keys – who played with Elvis, Wilson Pickett, and Garth Brooks ), Billy Sanford (guitar – who played with Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rodgers and many more), and Gene “Bubba” Chrisman (drums – who has played with Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Lynn, and well, on just about every hit out of Memphis and Nashville)
The opening cut “Young Man’s Dream” brings to mind a dusty road through a valley in Tennessee with the summer sun hanging low. The imagery focuses on a young man as Marcus lovingly sings, “Left my home when I was seventeen, my feet were dirty but my soul was clean.” You can smell the pine and leather in this majestic country song.
The first single from El Dorado is “The Well.” This song allows Marcus to bring to bear his enthralling voice on top of his stellar guitar playing. This is a rock-n-roll gospel about roots and hard work. The lyrics, “The cornerstone church trying to curse my soul, but the good Lord give me that rock n roll” stand out in this song just as Marcus fires up his Gibson for a bit of the devil’s music.
“Wildflowers & Wine” is simply stunning. A classic soul song that would make Otis Redding or Al Green smile. Marcus’ corduroy vocals make this sensuous tune purr. You can feel the golden glow of a shaded lamp, taste the intoxication of cheap red wine, and hear the pop of your favorite love song in the background. This wonderfully sexy song should be put on repeat until the groove won’t hold the needle anymore.
The deep southern soul vibe on El Dorado is chased with a shot of Tennessee whiskey. Songs such as “Sweet Mariona,” “Beautiful Stranger,” and “Too Much Whiskey” are steeped in classic Nashville country sound. The particularly lovely “Beautiful Stranger” calls to mind the wonderful blending of R&B with country music that Ronnie Milsap and Ray Charles artfully achieved.
Anyone who has listened to Marcus King before knows that jazz with a hefty helping of R&B is a big part of his overall sound. A shining example on El Dorado is “Break.” This song, full of heartache, is outstanding. The sweet loss that this arrangement captures makes it a favorite. The poignant keyboards, rustling drums, mournful strings combined with the understated jazz guitar riffs and Marcus’ voice will bring you to tears.
There can be no doubt that El Dorado will be one of the best albums released in 2020. While Marcus King is only 23 years old, he possesses an old soul. The music he makes on this album is timeless and remarkable. His passionate voice matched with captivating songwriting make this album a treasure. This album will be played again and again for years to come.
El Dorado is set for release on January 17. Be sure to pre-order your copy now.