By Vicki Wood


Just a small town boy from St. Joseph, MO Marcus Words burst on the lake music scene ten years ago and hasn't looked back. Words has over 180 shows booked this year as a solo act and recently returned from a five day tour of Florida. He might be the hardest working artist in the area since he is also the bassist for the band Christiana. He usually plays acoustic guitar and sings a mix of 90s, alternative, folk, funk, blues, outlaw country, and the greatest rendition of Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash around. He is joined by one of the best fiddles in the business played by Mike Clayton Sr. from Bolivar, MO. Clayton’s fiddle is haunting and resonating. Words has other artists join him on stage at different venues on varying nights, but Clayton’s string accompaniment seems to be a constant of Words’ solo appearances.

When Marcus performs as a solo artist, he plays and sings cover songs, but not what one would expect; he makes them his own. He enunciates the words, which I appreciate, especially when they are songs whose lines are not clear by the original artist, example: Big Jet Airliner by Stevie Miller, you know what I’m talking about…Words has a certain staccato to his singing, and his voice range beautifully lights up a version of Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks with that high-low lilt making it sound as if he wrote it, instead of Brooks. Marcus describes how he feels about cover songs on his YouTube Music channel, “I don't think the original artists would want to hear me play their songs exactly how they played it. I assume they would want to experience their artwork through a different medium.”

Marcus began performing in public at 10 years old with the school band. In the 5th grade, he began playing bassoon, and played around on his grandmother’s piano. With early musical influences of Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Garth Brooks, Incubus, Ani Difranco

Prince, Tim Mcgraw, and Metallica, the variety of style shows when he takes the stage. Prince still hasn’t made it into his set list when photographing the solo artist, but hopefully it will one day!

Words says “My early influences will always be my cornerstones of creation  but it's only natural for your influences to change over time. I was probably about 23 years old by the time I was playing and singing. There was a time where I didn't think I could actually sing at all.”

The thought is mind blowing considering Words’ level of talent, his transcending voice, and level of energy which will keep you glued to your seat, or up dancing.


Where did all of Words’ talent come from? Early on he was devoted to the band program, on into high school, and even into his college years on a full ride scholarship at Missouri Western University in St. Joseph. He played multiple instruments including bassoon, trombone, marching quad drums, baritone, euphonium, tuba,sousaphone, vibraphone, trumpet, marching snare, bass clarinet, and then bass and acoustic guitar. He played a different instrument every year throughout Middle and High school. But Words did not become a band director or music teacher. He did some student classroom elementary education teaching in college. Instead Words went into the finance world as a training director, before one day packing a duffel bag and heading to Florida with a one-way plane ticket realizing his dream of becoming a performance musician back in. He is still drawn to Florida, as a recent performance took place down there, when Marcus needs some time off from the lake area. An artist as talented as he stays in high demand this season.