He may be one of the most lauded artists in the contemporary blues arena today, and rightfully so, but for Mike Zito, the thing that counts the most is maintaining his honesty, authenticity and integrity. Those are the qualities that have steered Zito’s career since the beginning and continue to define every effort he’s offered since.
“I have nothing to hide; it seems my honesty is what people relate to most,” he once told Vintage Guitar magazine. “Anders (Osborne) told me early on, ‘If you don’t believe what you’re singing, you’ll never be a good singer.’ I try not to write fluff; I try to make every word count.”
That point became convincingly clear with his last record 2018’s First Class Life, a collection of songs that detailed his journey from addiction to sobriety and the subsequent success he achieved through his award-winning body of work. A multiple award winner and nominee, Zito has built his career on an ability to tap into tradition while maintaining contemporary credence all at the same time.
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Lead singer and guitarist for The Marcus King Band, 25-year-old Marcus King has a lot of experience under his belt despite his young age. With over a decade of performing live, King has already made a name for himself among today’s top indie artists. Not many musicians can claim to be a professional by the age of eleven! With King’s dedication to his craft, he has sought to revamp the indie music industry through his unique spin on the genre. Read on to learn more about The Marcus King band from Roaming the Arts.
Marcus King And The Early Years Of His Life
Music was a huge factor in King’s upbringing. With a four-generation legacy of musicians in the family, King seemed to be destined to leave his mark on music as well. Learning from both his father and his grandfather, Marcus King learned how to play the guitar by the tender age of just four years old. His passion for the guitar has only grown with time, prompting the design of the Marcus King Gibson ES 345, a custom vintage design inspired by the Blue Ridge Mountains King called home. Talent for string instruments can be traced back to King’s great-grandfather, who was an avid fiddler. With his grandfather transitioning from fiddle to guitar, and dear ol’ dad being a professional guitarist himself, King certainly had a lot of talent to learn from.
Further Inspiration For King’s Unique Brand Of Music
Through his upbringing in Greenville, South Carolina, much of the influence for The Marcus King Band can be attributed to his hometown. The indie music artist can be described as a powerhouse combination of classic rock-n-roll blended with soul and country influences. Some inspiration for this sound can be seen from King’s father, guitarist and singer Marvin King, who is known for his own band, Marvin King and The Blues Revival. King’s grandfather lent his guitar expertise to the country scene, contributing again to the type of music King would later showcase.
Where The Marcus King Band Is Today
Alongside Marcus King (guitar and vocals), The Marcus King Band is made up of members Stephen Campbell (bass), Dean Mitchell (sax and guitar), Justin Johnson (trombone and trumpet), and Jack Ryan (drummer). The five musicians have been performing together since 2013 – That’s 8 years performing as the Marcus King Band! Their record, El Dorado, is out now and available to be enjoyed by music lovers everywhere! The group is currently located in Nashville, Tennessee, where they continue to write and perform music regularly. Concert information can be found on their website, along with all of the latest updates on The Marcus King Band.
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“Dion, like a circling star that never fades, generates the energy and fire we need to pull ourselves up and start again.” (Pete Townsend)
Dion may be a household name and Hall of Famer but has earned a post here as he remains relevant at 82.
Currently charting with a new record, Stomping Ground, featuring collaboration with over a dozen major artists.
Read and remember:
Dion DiMucci had a career unlike any other in 20th century popular music, one that took him from harmonizing doo wop on the streets of the Bronx to baring his soul on a series of singer/songwriter albums in the ’70s, spending his later years bringing his blues into the 21st century. First famous for the hits he had as a teen with the Belmonts, “The Wanderer” and “Ruby Baby” were covers that established Dion as a solo star in the late ’50s, while “Runaround Sue” and “Lovers Who Wander,” which he co-wrote, revealed a songwriting talent that would flourish over the years. DiMucci kept recording after the British Invasion changed the rock & roll landscape of the ’60s, but he didn’t have another big hit until the bittersweet “Abraham, Martin and John” in 1968, a single that introduced a period as an idiosyncratic singer/songwriter, an era encapsulated on the 1975 cult classic Born to Be with You. Dion spent some time singing Christian music and oldies before returning to fresh material with 1989’s Dave Edmunds-produced Yo Frankie. From that point forward, DiMucci split the difference between R&B throwbacks and new tunes, eventually settling into a blues groove, beginning with 2006’s Bronx in Blue and stretching into 2021’s Stomping Ground.
When Dion began recording in the late ’50s, it was as the lead singer of a group of friends who sang on Bronx street corners. Billing themselves Dion & the Belmonts (Dion had released a previous single with the Timberlanes), their first few records were prime Italian-American doo wop; “I Wonder Why” was their biggest hit in this style. Dion‘s biggest single with the Belmonts was “A Teenager in Love,” which pointed the way for the slightly self-pitying, pained odes to adolescence and early adulthood that would characterize much of his solo work.
Dion went solo in 1960 (the Belmonts did some more doo wop recordings on their own), moving from doo wop to more R&B/pop-oriented tunes with great success. He handled himself with a suave, cocky ease on hits like “The Wanderer,” “Runaround Sue,” “Lovers Who Wander,” “Ruby Baby,” and “Donna the Prima Donna,” which cast him as either the jilted, misunderstood youngster or the macho lover, capable of handling anything that came his way (especially on “The Wanderer”).
In 1963, Dion moved from Laurie to the larger Columbia label, an association that started promisingly with a couple of big hits right off the bat, “Ruby Baby” and “Donna the Prima Donna.” By the mid-’60s, his heroin habit (which he’d developed as a teenager) was getting the best of him, and he did little recording and performing for about five years. When he did make it into the studio, he was moving in some surprisingly bluesy directions; although much of it was overlooked or unissued at the time, it can be heard on the Bronx Blues reissue CD.
In 1968, he kicked heroin and re-emerged as a gentle folk-rocker with a number four hit single, “Abraham, Martin and John.” Dion would focus upon mature, contemporary material on his late-’60s and early-’70s albums, which were released to positive critical feedback, if only moderate sales. The folk phase didn’t last long; in 1972 he reunited with the Belmonts and in the mid-’70s cut a disappointing record with Phil Spector as producer. He recorded and performed fairly often in the years that followed (sometimes singing Christian music), to indifferent commercial results. But his critical rep has risen steadily since the early ’60s, with many noted contemporary musicians showering him with praise and citing his influence, such as Dave Edmunds (who produced one of his periodic comeback albums) and Lou Reed (who guested on that record). Dion continued to be active as the 21st century opened, releasing Déjà Nu in 2000, Under the Influence in 2005, and Bronx in Blue in 2006. His first major-label album since 1989’s Yo Frankie, Son of Skip James was released by Verve in 2007, while 2008’s Heroes: Giants of Early Guitar Rock saw him tackling 15 songs from the classic rock & roll era. Influenced by a conversation with rock critic Dave Marsh about his long and still relevant career, and a dare from his wife Susan to prove it, Dion cut Tank Full of Blues, producing and playing the guitars himself on the recording and writing or co-writing all but one track on the set. Issued on Blue Horizon, it is the final recording in the trilogy that began with Bronx in Blue.
Dion signed to Instant Records in 2015 and immediately set to recording a new studio album. Entitled New York Is My Home, its first single and title track — a duet with Paul Simon — was pre-released in November digitally and as a striking video. The album was issued in the winter of 2016.
Then the singer/songwriter and Norton Records surprised everyone. In 1965, DiMucci was signed to Columbia, and had cut 15 new songs — all produced by Tom Wilson, who was recording Bob Dylan in the same studios at roughly the same time — for an album that the label, for whatever reason, decided not to release. Dion left the label over the decision. Some tracks were issued on singles, others later on various compilations. But for over 50 years, the tapes sat. That’s where Norton’s Miriam Linna and Billy Miller came in. They received the rights to release the entire record as it was originally intended, completely remastered from the original tapes. Featuring ten originals, one by Mort Shuman (who had co-written “Teenager in Love” with Doc Pomus for Dion & the Belmonts), and three by Dylan (who had been enamored with Dion since the ’50s). Though Miller passed before it was issued, Kickin’ Child: The Lost Columbia Album 1965 was released by the label in May.
In 2020, Dion released Blues with Friends, a collection of original blues songs performed as duets with such superstar pals as Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, and Billy Gibbons. The album was released by KTBA Records (it stands for “Keeping the Blues Alive”), which brought out a similar set in November 2021, Stomping Ground. Another star-sprinkled set of original songs, Stomping Ground featured guest appearances from Rickie Lee Jones, Boz Scaggs, Keb’ Mo’, Mark Knopfler, and many more. In between those two albums, in November 2020, Dion issued a Christmas single, featuring his versions of “Hello Christmas” (featuring Amy Grant) and “You Know It’s Christmas
Artist Biography by Richie Unterberger – via All Music Guide
Lawrence the Band
They are brother and sister with an eight-piece band delivering soul-pop music with some hints of funk, R&B, and rock and roll.
Most of all they are young and having fun.
Latest release – Hotel TV
Funniest Video – It’s Not All About You
Clyde Lawrence and Gracie Lawrence have been writing songs and listening to countless Stevie Wonder, Randy Newman, and Aretha Franklin records in the living room of their family’s New York City apartment since they were little kids. After years of playing together, they officially created Lawrence, an eight-piece soul-pop band comprised of musician friends from childhood and college. In June 2019, Lawrence became the first band to sign with Beautiful Mind Records, the label of Grammy-winning producer/song-writer/artist Jon Bellion. In the weeks following the signing, they released the Bellion-produced single “Casualty,” and embarked as support on Bellion’s Summer 2019 Glory Sound Prep Tour. The signing followed the release of Lawrence’s sophomore album, Living Room, in September of 2018. Co-produced by bandmates Jordan Cohen and Jonny Koh, Brooklyn-based producer Eli Crews, and Clyde and Gracie themselves, Living Room chronicles the trials and tribulations of growing up, including break-ups, make-ups, and a family loss. Living Room built sonically on the band’s first album, Breakfast (2016), which was produced by Grammy Award-winner Eric Krasno (Lettuce/Soulive). In addition to the band, Clyde has also amassed a considerable resume writing songs and score for films and television, while Gracie is an accomplished film, television, and theater actress. (Splitter.fm)