Marquise Knox: Blues

By Contributed Article, Special to the BDN
Posted Aug. 20, 2012, at 1:53 p.m.

Marquise Knox was born in 1991 in St. Louis while his mother was visiting family. They returned to Granada, Miss., but relocated to St. Louis a couple of years later. Knox still resides there, but spends much time in Grenada.

Knox hails from a musical family deeply entrenched in the blues. He learned to play guitar from his grandmother, whose family were sharecroppers and whose great-great-grandparents were slaves. He also played with his Uncle Clifford, a major influence in his life.

For Knox, blues is his heritage and way of life. He spent his early teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great blues legend, National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship recipient and Grammy Award winner Henry James Townsend. Knox’s talents have earned him performing rights with some of America’s most notable blues performers such as blues legend and Grammy winners B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and David “Honeyboy” Edwards. He has also performed at dozens of festivals, has toured Germany, and has played the Baden Blues Festival in Switzerland.

Knox met Sam Lay during a visit to Clarksdale, Miss. Like other blues statesmen, Sam took an immediate liking to Knox and took it upon himself to help give Knox’s career a boost by insisting that Chad Kassem bring Knox to the celebrated Blues series “Bluesmasters at the Crossroads”, which has showcased a virtual who-who of the Blues at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kan. Knox was an immediate crowd favorite, and was adopted by all of the elders of the Blues in attendance that year. His obvious talent along with his deep knowledge of the Blues and vast respect for his elders made it clear Knox had something special, and Kassem signed him to a three album deal.

Knox’s debut album, “Manchild,” was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut. The album was recorded when he was 16 years old, in two nights, during an ice storm in a church with the world renowned Michael Burks and his band. There is even a song called “Ice Storm” on the album. The release received worldwide acclaim, including Living Blues’ Best Debut Artist Award and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Debut Artist. Knox then recorded a direct-to-disc album while in town for the next year’s Crossroads.

Knox recently released his third album, “Here I Am,” once again recorded at the legendary Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kan. It features Knox and his band, with a little help from Wayne Sharp of Michael Burk’s band sitting in on B-3 and piano. It features nine originals, plus three reverent covers of Knox’s favorite Muddy Waters tunes.

Living Blues magazine called Knox, “…already poised, confident, and brandishing an arsenal of powerful, no-nonsense vocal and guitar skills that projected not only way beyond his years, but way back to the spirits of the blues masters of yore.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/08/20/special-sections/marquise-knox-blues/ printed on July 31, 2014