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Spotlight on Double Decker Headliners

The Double Decker Arts Festival will once again, be a two-day event, on April 28 and 29. While the entire event showcases the talents of many local artists and offers great food choices, the music is what drives the crowds to Oxford.

Hotty Toddy News will run bios on each of the musical performers as the festival approaches.

Today, we focus on the headliners for April 28 and April 29.

Friday’s headline act is Ashley McBryde.

McBryde was raised in Mammoth Spring, Arkansas, taking to music at the age when most kids were running wild in the backyard, dressing dolls or playing with trains. At three years old, she’d secretly pluck her father’s guitar like an upright bass, and after about the 17th time being caught, her father bought her a guitar of her own. When she was 12, she played her very first composition to her parents and grandparents. It was at Arkansas State when, while a member of the marching band, McBryde finally started sharing her voice with others–first at karaoke parties, then in a band, and then in Memphis where she’d play a mix of cover and original songs while still commuting from college.

Ashley McBryde

When McBryde finally moved to Nashville in 2007, she settled with a friend at an apartment in a building that housed storage units–not the most glamorous of homes, but enough of a place to crash in between a healthy dose of dive bars, biker hangouts, and colorful joints where she fought to have her songs heard.

Her first EP, the self-released 2016 Jalopies and Expensive Guitars was just a taste of what McBryde can do, and, on her full-length debut, she will meld her songwriting chops with the vision of producer Jay Joyce, peppering her tales with a touch of guitar-driven rock fury–but offering plenty of room for her emotive, vulnerable twang to move softly through songs like“Girl Goin’ Nowhere,” which was written the morning that Guy Clark passed away. McBryde indeed played “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” at her Opry debut, and still performs it on stage to crowds that now sing along.

Scott Caradine, who books the bands for the Double Decker Arts Festival said last year’s Friday night event featuring headliner Brett Young, set the stage to continue making country music the theme for the Friday night portion of the festival.

“We had great success with Brett coming and the way that played out with having a big country artist, we thought it was a great opportunity to keep building on that,” Caradine said.

***

On Saturday, the headliner is 26-year-old Grammy-nominated artist, Marcus King.

By 8 years old, the fourth-generation Greenville, SC native performed alongside pops, grandpa, and his uncles for the first time.

Logging thousands of miles on the road as “The Marcus King Band,” he established himself with unparalleled performance prowess and a dynamic live show. In 2020, he linked up with Dan Auerbach [The Black Keys] and cut his solo debut El Dorado, garnering a Grammy nomination in the category of“Best Americana Album.”

Marcus King

Beyond praise from NPR, American Songwriter, and more, Rolling Stone christened it “excellent,” and Associated Press went as far as to claim,“El Dorado already stands out as a definite high point of 2020.”

In between packing venues on his own, he performed alongside Chris Stapleton, Greta Van Fleet, and Nathanial Rateliff in addition to gracing the bills of Stagecoach and more with one seismic show after the next.

Along the way, he caught the attention of Rick Rubin and signed to American Recordings. Plugged into his old man’s dusty amp with a ’59 Les Paul in hand, Marcus set out to make a rock roll record in 2022. He didn’t disguise his ambitions at all. He didn’t hold back. He didn’t think about anything but writing from the gut, shooting from the hip, and playing straight from the heart.

Joined by Auerbach, he made the kind of rock ‘n’ roll record that makes arenas shake, and it’s called Young Blood.

“Marcus listened to a lot of gospel and Appalachian music, and studied jazz later on,” Caradine said. “He is a guitar virtuoso – his influences of gospel, blues, jazz, soul and classic rock all influence his music and his live performances which have been hailed as ‘jubilant.’”


Bios compiled by Visit Oxford. News editor Alyssa Schnugg contributed to this story.

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