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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2018

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Joe Marson’s voice and talent shine at Acoustic Night

marson4webBy GINNY CLARK

Smooth, soulful and slick are just a few words that can describe the sound of Joe Marson, a one-man-show from Brooklyn, N.Y. His setup may be simple, an acoustic guitar and his voice, but his approach is effective.
“He has a great repertoire with the audience,” said show goer and theater major Julia Wells, “His voice has this vintage quality with a contemporary edge.”
It is that combination of old and new which makes Marson so compelling.
Spanning the genres of jazz, blues and southern rock, the singer-songwriter revealed a dynamic voice. Whether it be high falsetto or low bass, mimicked trumpet sounds or snappy beatboxing, there was always a constant, fluid movement of sound.
Marson proved he is not just a musician, but also a crowd pleaser. Marson knew how to engage the crowd and how to keep the fans on their toes. With playful banter and a magnetic personality, the spotlight artist made his audience a part of the performance.
“If you don’t enjoy the music…you can still enjoy the fact that he comes with his own comedy act,” Wells said.
At times, the jokes fell on the corny side, such as “Stevie Wonderin’ if you’re in the room,” but all the same, they added a touch of charm to the act.
Bouncing between cover songs and originals, Marson added his own signature flair to whatever he played. Aaliyah’s “Are You That Somebody” took on a more mellow tone in Marson’s hands, and Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” got an extra dose of soul.
It was Bobby McFerrin’s “Opportunity” that took the cake, however. For this acapella piece Marson transformed his vocal chords into an orchestra, using chest thumping techniques and sudden octave shifts. Impressed by his talent, the audience was wholeheartedly cheering by the end of it.
“I’m definitely coming back next Wednesday,” said Maddie Rhondeau, a senior historic preservation major.
“I can’t wait to see what UPC has coming up for the fall semester.”