Marcus Eaton -- vocals, guitars
Zak Frantz - saxophones, flute, ewi
Jim Monson -- bass
Nathan Keezer - drums, percussion
The Marcus Eaton and The Lobby story begins in the unassuming town of Pocatello, Idaho. The son of a songwriter, young Marcus took a cue from his dad and began playing guitar at age 9. As Marcus recalls, "We only had one television station so I spent most of my time doing creative things."
Marcus still spends his time exploring creative pursuits, though now he's in the company of three similarly inspired musicians known collectively as Marcus Eaton & The Lobby. Boise-based, the band's crazy quilt musical approach can be heard on their Uninhibited Records debut, The Day The World Awoke. Featuring 10 original compositions, plus a special mix of the first single "Top of the World," the album finds Marcus and company forswearing trendy nihilism in favor of a more sublime musical reality. In the soulful world of ME&L, breezy jazz-folk melodies mingle with r&b-inflected vocals, primal world rhythms and life affirming lyrics.
Marcus Eaton and the Lobby subscribe to the "if you work hard enough, something good will happen" ethic. With local record releases to their credit, the band has taken every gig it could get, trekking across Colorado, Washington, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon and Nevada. Their reputation at home has earned them opening shots for Big Head Todd & The Monsters, G Love & Special Sauce, Jewel and Young Dubliners, among others. Says Young Dubs vocalist and guitarist Keith Roberts, "Our fans thank us every time they play with us."
The Day The World Awoke captures the feel-good fervor of a Marcus Eaton and the Lobby concert while radiating the warmth and spontaneity of a living room jam. Marcus's melodic vocals and percussive guitar, Zak Frantz's lyrical woodwind improvisations, and the fluid rhythm section of bassist Jim Monson and drummer Nate Keezer are all here, funnelled through the band's all-things-considered songwriting sensibility.
By arranging the songs as they are on The Day The World Awoke, the band found that the record unfolds like a story. According to Zak, "There are issues of faith, death and God. By the end of the album, the only thing that remains is love. It sounds simple, but it's an inescapable truth."
The seeds for Marcus Eaton and the Lobby were sown in Pocatello in 1996, when Marcus and drummer Nate Keezer formed a high school duo called E.S.P. The group's unique songs and spartan approach made them local club favorites and a natural opener for national acts passing through town.
Despite their local success, E.S.P came to an abrupt end in 1998, when Marcus moved to Boise to attend Boise State University. Eventually, and in roundabout ways, Marcus, Nate, Jim and Zak connected in Boise. Expressing a common interest in classic rock and jazz, the group formed in the jam band tradition, but that was problematic. Initially, the band didn't put the brakes on the song lengths. Each member would take 3 or 4 solos per song, and it wasn't unusual to have several 20-minute-plus tunes per set. Says Marcus, "When you haven't written so many songs, you tend to stretch it a bit. It's different now."
As their debut album attests, Marcus Eaton and the Lobby have risen to the songwriting challenge. In an age where angst has become fashion, The Day The World Awoke advances a genuinely subversive notion -- that love, happiness and the pursuit of creative excellence are more compelling than despair and contrived attitude.
"Our heroes are people like Paul Simon, James Taylor, Bob Marley and Dave Brubeck -- really great musicians who have something to say," says Marcus. "That's the goal for us. We want our musicianship, performance and content to be as high-quality as our hero's, because we really want to create something timeless."
Check out the artist's website:
1. Top Of The World
2. Left Unsaid
3. The Day The World Awoke
4. Blue And Gray
5. Back From The Beginning
6. Figure Her Out
8. God's Favor
10. Love Is All That Remains
11. Top Of The World (On Air Mix)