Music could be heard from all directions on a mild March afternoon. The dust swirled while people danced and shuffled through the main thoroughfare of a ranch just outside of Austin. The air was dry but sweet with the smell of whiskey, weed and sandalwood. Willie Nelson was hosting his annual music fest “Luck Reunion,” on his ranch in Luck, Texas. Somehow or another I found myself in the green room siting with a friend and his wife, upstairs of one of the rustic buildings that was reserved for the musicians. We sat amidst several artists meandering in and out talking, laughing, drinking and smoking, waiting for their next set to begin. Among those artists was Marcus King. He sat quietly with some of his bandmates. I remember seeing him: he was quiet, almost in a trance. I don’t believe I saw him speak the entire time he sat on the couch while pure, backstage antics and chaos hummed all around him. He seemed to be on a level all his own and at the same time ready to fend off any and all social arrows hurled his way. When it was time, he calmly got up and sauntered off the rooftop. He took stage and strapped on his guitar, asked the crowd “you ain’t tired yet are ya?… if you feel good say hell yeah” and no sooner after an “alright” he went right into a riff that can only be described as purely soul-melting. I was immediately sucked in and felt the trance that he was probably feeling while waiting to go on. The sound coming from his Orange PP412 amp was so funky it would put your tennis shoes to shame, so bluesy it would make Little Boy Blue blush, so soulful… well, you get the picture.
Marcus is a second-generation blues man, who found his soulful talent at a very young age. So young in fact, that he was actually playing shows with his father, and blues man Marvin King, at the age of 8. His latest solo album “El Dorado” was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and was released January 2020. His sound is so new, and yet undeniably classic. You can’t help but conjure the sounds of the Allman Brothers, BB King, Marvin Gayeand his song “Too Much Whiskey” echoes our host at Luck Reunion, Willie Nelson himself. Marcus’s psychedelic soulful sound is much like Compass Box Great King St. Glasgow Blend, sweet, oily, enhanced with smoke and makes the perfect pairing for a relaxing vinyl session before bed.
Compass Box is a blending house that creates some of the finest blended scotch whiskies today. They pride themselves on using mainly single malt scotch whisky in their blends as opposed to grain malt whiskies as many other blended whisky makers do. The Great King Street Glasgow Blend is the perfect balance of sweet malt and smoke. Again, composed mainly of a single malt, this whisky also has layers of sweetness brought on by another malt whisky aged in sherry butts. It is then balanced with a punch of smoke brought on from an Islay single malt. Truly a great expression that boasts flavors of honey, vanilla, fresh and dried fruit, and of course a brine-kissed sweet smoky flavor that whispers hints of iodine and plastic. These give this blend a complex and oily finish that I love.
So, if you’re looking for a bold, oily, yet sweet whiskey that has been influenced by a little smoke, Great King St. Glasgow Blend by Compass Box is the perfect pairing with a record that is equally as bold, oily, sweet and influenced by a little smoke. El Dorado by Marcus King.