Marcus Singletary - In Context and Time

From the moment I became a solo artist, I began placing myself in a variety of unique musical contexts. The idea originated from a desire to frame my albums' inspirations within different historical eras. The question was simple: what would a Marcus Singletary recording have sounded like in 1957? It was addressed with the material from Angel City Shootout (2004): old school blues-rock. Live at the Foxx and Live on Sunset (from 2005 and 2006, respectively) gave listeners an intimate glimpse of the stage show.

Marcus Singletary (2008) and Smokin' (2011) were based on the sounds of the late Sixties - specifically, the creations of producer Norman Whitfield and the many talented artists he worked with. A brief sojourn into psychedelic terrain was displayed through the improvisational performances from Take Me Out to the Ball Game (2008). Comparisons to Jimi Hendrix were made, but one of my favorite moments from that era was working with former Byrds drummer Gene Parsons on fitting his own invention - a double string bender - into a Telecaster I acquired specifically for such purposes.

Sings Country Music Standards updated the Marcus Singletary sound for the early Seventies, a time where acoustic songs, singer-songwriters, and country tunes ruled the airwaves. On it, I covered cuts by such legends as Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, and followed up by doing exactly what Cash and David Bowie did when they gained some recording studio experience. Defiance Science (2014) and Subversive Blues (2016) became the first two parts of a conceptual trilogy.

Subversive Blues introduced a character that would later appear in other places: the cantankerous disc jockey Bonnie Wright, who maintains a stiff upper lip even while voicing questionable opinions. Wright can be heard on The South Africa Tapes as the pitch woman for Sunshine Water Park in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and she returns once again during a segment from Daydream Station (2017) - a comedy album that collected the best bits from my radio program, Far Out Flavors.

2015's Marcus Singletary Live differed from the earlier Foxx and Sunset discs in its reliance on jazz, but The Sonic Admiral - Live! (2018) presented a whacked-out glimpse of a live experience during the concept era, where FX, Walt Whitman poetry recitations, and ethereal sounds reigned. Ambient textures were the basis for 2019's Journey to Sebhedris; Sebhedris was inspired by experimental artists like Hawkwind and John Cage. I had experienced some unexpected success with soundscapes before - namely, use of 'The Hero Returns Home' as a sample by electronic artist Ian Mart; this exposed the cut to an entirely different audience, so a film, The Sebhedris Experience (which merged the album's songs with a collage of kaleidoscopic images) was produced.

Born to Be Wild returns the music to hard rocking territory, as the album finds its musical focus in the late '70s and early '80s hard rock and metal scenes. The music does get cryptic at times, but most of the material, in my opinion, comes straight from the crypt. 'Space Train to Babylon' contains an arena rock drum solo, 'Freeform Guitar' is a musical tribute to Terry Kath of the band Chicago, and the title track covers Steppenwolf. However, the music does not sound dated. In fact, I believe its arrival is right on time.

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