|Born||Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Genres||Rock, progressive rock, jazz, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, producer, songwriter, singer, radio personality|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, guitar, electric guitar, drums, piano|
Marcus Singletary is an American musician and media personality.
Singletary was born in Chicago, Illinois. He attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary South High School (closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago during Singletary's Freshman year), Brother Rice High School on Chicago's South Side and, ultimately, Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from Northwestern University and, while at Musician's Institute, he studied jazz under Finnish fusion guitarist Antti Kotikoski.
Marcus Singletary has been featured on television networks including FOX and CNN, and Conexión Abierta's radio program De Rock y Freud (Universidad Abierta Interamericana, Argentina).
The radio program Far Out Flavors, featuring Singletary as host and producer, aired on KCAA 106.5/102.3 FM & 1050 AM between September and December 2016; the network is the Inland Empire region of Southern California's NBC/CNBC affiliate. Episodes featured interviews conducted by Singletary with such guests as Randy Holden (former Blue Cheer lead guitarist), S. Leigh Savidge (writer of Welcome to Death Row, the book the film Straight Outta Compton is based on), Susan Rogers (Prince's audio engineer during the 1980s Purple Rain breakout phase), and Rep. Dennis Baxley (Florida lawmaker and co-sponsor of the state's controversial "Stand Your Ground" bill.)
Singletary formed the rock band Jupiter's Child - a group compared to such jam bands as Widespread Panic - as a teenager in high school. The group performed Singletary's composition 'Can't Ask For More' on the cable TV program Chic-a-Go-Go in 2003. A two-disc, twenty track retrospective, Legacy, represented all eras of the band's history and was released in 2014.
In 2004, Singletary released The Marcus Singletary Band and Capitol Hill; these albums were later reissued under the title Angel City Shootout. Band included 'Delta' (a Junior Wells-style harmonica-and-drum duet) and such early Singletary concert favorites as hard rocker 'Best in Me' and 'Shame,' which recalls the '70s blues style of guitarist Eric Clapton; of Hill, Philip Stone of Splendid said, 'Marcus Singletary plays blues-influenced classic rock not unlike Cream or Steve Miller. This particular breed of rock lends itself to a lot of soloing and intra-band jamming, and as expected, all of Singletary's songs eventually break down into extended guitar, harmonica or organ solos. What's strange is that Singletary plays all of the instruments. While lots of musicians have done this before, I don't recall any examples of artists actually jamming with themselves...Singletary has skills out the gills: his voice has the right attitude, his guitar playing is sharp, and any guitarist who can hold a beat behind the drums deserves some props.'
Jason Scales of Illinois Entertainer added, 'Political-social commentary and a firm belief in the power of positive thinking punctuate Marcus Singletary’s Capitol Hill. Dreamy, jam-based blues largely carries the message, including this line from 'Super Tuesday': 'Are you better off now than you were four years ago? / It's time for a change.' The 2006 compilation Rocks documented highlights from these recordings as a 'sampling of Singletary's recorded blues resume.'
Two discs appeared in 2008. The eponymous disc Marcus Singletary was recorded at Clear Lake Audio in North Hollywood, California, mixed by Don Casale (engineer for Iron Butterfly, Vanilla Fudge, Aretha Franklin, and others), and released in February. In music reviewer Michael Popke's opinion, 'Cynics among us may regard Singletary's latest material - his other albums were defined by lengthy blues solos - as a step backwards into pop territory, [but] the rest will simply enjoy these...catchy, happy-sounding tunes that may brighten an otherwise cloudy day.' Then, Sea of Tranquility noted of the subsequent concert disc Take Me Out to the Ball Game, '[Ball Game] veers off into improvised uncharted territory ala The Star-Spangled Banner,' and David C. Eldredge of Illinois Entertainer said the CD, 'finds [Singletary] riffing and then off into the freeform chording stratosphere pursuing the disc's eponymous opening chestnut and similar nods to baseball themes and icons.'
2011's Smokin' materialized during performances at LA venues including House of Blues, Henry Fonda Theater, and Viper Room. On it, Singletary was backed by bassist Cliff Starbuck of Ekoostik Hookah and former Doobie Brothers drummer Chet McCracken. UK-based rock critic Simon Smith wrote, 'Marcus Singletary has crafted a great album that has a distinctive sound, a heart and soul to smile for with a beat to boogie to...It's unashamedly upbeat and embracing while it rings every drop of sweat from your panting face as you try to keep up. Great fun.'
Kelley Simms of Illinois Entertainer added, 'Drawing upon classic rock, blues, jazz, funk, and psychedelic influences, Marcus Singletary delivers some broad and competent music on Smokin’. Singletary handles all vocals, guitars, keyboards, and theremin, while bassist Cliff Starbuck and ex-Doobie Brothers drummer Chet McCracken are featured, along with a versatile horn section. Together they lay down some funky grooves and...a solid foundation.' One track, 'Get the Dance Gene,' was featured on the August 9, 2013 episode of cable television program Chic-a-Go-Go.
Containing cover songs originally performed by roots-based artists like Jim Croce, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Johnny Cash, Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards was released February 7, 2013. PopMatters' Neil Kelly drew links between the album and the George Zimmerman trial while comparing Singletary's public persona to the acknowledged eccentricities of Lindsay Lohan, Prince, and Ted Nugent. Others, like journalist Dan Berthiaume, enjoyed its content: 'Singletary is a deft guitarist and also has a strong voice. His clear vocals bring to life just how violent and menacing many roots and roots-influenced songs really are...Fans of traditional and acoustic music may be interested in checking out these new interpretations, still performed organically and from the soul, as they were intended.'
Defiance Science was released May 7, 2015. Its 'song cycle' was based around the exploits of fictional character Primrose Luckett - a privileged scholar in search of the American dream. In press releases, Singletary cited the Kinks' theatrical releases (including Muswell Hillbillies, the Preservation saga, and Soap Opera), and Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical South Pacific as inspirations. The album was viewed favorably by critics, with Sea of Tranquility's Jon Neudorf stating, 'Defiance Science is a diverse album with excellent musicianship, quite an accomplishment considering this is the work of one musician. Fans of rock music in general should definitely take note.' 'Marcus Singletary displays…a very fresh approach to songwriting. By no means background music, it is more the sort that will require multiple listens and your full attention to really appreciate it,' wrote Pure M-zine's Paul Ryan.
Marcus Singletary Live offered a more distinctive jamband-style identity that permeated material ranging from previously unreleased tunes ('Beggar's Anthem,' 'On the Silver Screen') and fusion jams ('Cartwheel and Comet,' 'Hallelujah') to choice selections from Sings Country Music Standards ('You Don't Mess Around With Jim') and Defiance Science ('In the Sand,' 'Science.') Pasinski wrote of Live, 'Guitar wizard Marcus Singletary has continued to amaze his fans and admirers with his talents for adapting to any musical genre...His guitar playing is extraordinary, especially when he gets lost in a song and blazes a way out with his shredding. His latest release is his first official live album titled simply Marcus Singletary Live. It is a short nine-song, thirty-minute set that finds Marcus in a close, club-like setting. He plays it safe on the first tune of the set 'Beggar's Anthem,' before experimenting with his sound in 'Hallelujah,' which ends way too soon. He picks up the tempo with the garage rock appeal of 'On The Silver Screen,' then locks into the light, airy instrumental 'Science.' Marcus finally opens up his sound on the six-plus minute, adventurous 'Cartwheel And Comet,' before heading into a grunge-like cover of Jim Croce's 'Don't Mess Around With Jim.' Remastered versions of Live and Sings Country Music Standards were released as a twofer package.
Subversive Blues was released March 29, 2016. It was presented as the second part of a trio of conceptual albums by Singletary that began with Defiance Science. Singletary again performed all of the instruments and vocals and, according to his website, its narrative depicted him as the leader of the Starfighter United Front - a special forces unit dispatched to Earth to save the universe from agents of cultural destruction. It was Singletary's most controversial album to date, with critics largely baffled by the material. Steven Reid of Sea of Tranquility wrote, in an elongated assessment, 'Rather than art-rock, I'd suggest that what Singletary has created here is aural art, with most of the tracks shrugging off the term song to be grabs of dialogue, stabs of ambient sound, or beats with accompanying, although not always related, melodies,' adding, 'I wouldn't actually be too surprised if Singletary was to nod approvingly at just how bamboozled I am by Subversive Blues. After all there's little doubt this album is intended to...split opinions.' A music video for album cut 'Astronaut's Daughter' - Singletary's first - debuted on YouTube in March 2016; it contained footage from the voyage of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
A version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" was issued as a single May 18, 2017, backed with Christmas favorite "Jingle Bells" as a B-side. Singletary performed all instruments on each recording.
- 2004 The Marcus Singletary Band
- 2004 Capitol Hill
- 2005 Live at the Foxx
- 2006 Rocks
- 2008 Marcus Singletary
- 2008 Take Me Out to the Ball Game
- 2011 Smokin'
- 2013 Sings Country Music Standards
- 2015 Defiance Science
- 2015 Live
- 2016 Subversive Blues
- 2017 Spirit Dialogues
- 2015 Sunset/Foxx Live (Live on Sunset/Live at the Foxx)
- 2016 Angel City Shootout (The Marcus Singletary Band/Capitol Hill)
- 2016 Sings Country Music Standards/Marcus Singletary Live (Remastered)
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|url=value (help). Cincy Groove Magazine. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
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- Simms, Kelley. "Smokin' CD Review". Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- "Episode Excerpt". Retrieved 9 August 2013.
- "Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards". Amazon. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
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- Neudorf, Jon. "Marcus Singletary - Defiance Science". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- Ryan, Paul. "Marcus Singletary - Science Defiance". Pure M-zine. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
- Pasinski, Jim. "New Live Albums from John Wetton, Johnny Thunders, Aqua Nebula, and Marcus Singletary". JP's Music Blog. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- "Marcus Singletary Website". www.marcussingletary.com. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
- Reid, Steven. "Marcus Singletary - Subversive Blues". Sea of Tranquility. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- "YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- "Marcus Singletary: Knockin' on Heaven's Door". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 12 June 2017.