Marcus Singletary: Sings Country Music Standards

From the man who tried to cash in on Trayvon Martin comes another half-baked attempt to separate you from your money. Citing the legendary Sun Studios as inspiration for Sings Country Music Standards, Singletary forgets the most important part of Sam Phillip's formula... good performances.

Marcus Singletary

Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards

Label: Riverbound Records
US Release Date: 2013-03-01
UK Release Date: 2013-02-07

"When I started out as a musician, Auto-Tune hadn't been invented yet, so you actually had to be able to sing and play well to get a gig, whereas, today, you can simply pay for the privilege - regardless of your talent level."

Marcus Singletary, from the official press release on

Musicians need to be remembered for their music alone. It should be our responsibility as aficionados to make sure the people who only know of an artist through controversy, and not art, know who that musician is and where they came from. At the same time, it should be the musician's responsibility to strive for a great product to remember, especially if they plan on offering it to the world. Let's take Ted Nugent, for instance. Should he be remembered for his hate-filled Obama bashing? Or "Stranglehold"? Should Prince be known only for the TAFKAP debacle? Or his incredible talent and awe-inspiring catalogue? How about Jim Gordon... the superstar drummer for Derek & The Dominos, Mad Dogs & Englishmen, and thousands of hit sessions, who brutally murdered his mother in 1983? The answers to those questions are indeed rhetorical... but what if the controversy overshadows the talent (or lack thereof), a la Lohan? Should we then disregard the "artistic" output in favor of the headline for remembrance? After hearing Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards, I'm inclined to say yes.

Singletary is an experimenter. Every release from the first Jupiter's Child CD to Sings Country Music Standards is stylistically different, but that's not necessarily a good thing in this case. One can certainly argue this point, for those artists who are considered to live in the "jam band genre" live by no genre. They're free to interpret what they want, as is the listener. I say true, but here's where the responsibility of the musician comes in. As prolific as Singletary is, I can't help but to think of each record as a noodle of spaghetti, thrown at the cabinet door to check for doneness. In the case of Sings Country Music Standards, the water isn't even boiling.

The controversy with Singletary is still fresh in mind. Last year, he tried to obtain a trademark for a hooded sweatshirt line with the slogan, "Justice For Trayvon". The word went viral, people were vocal, and some threats physical. These are sensitive times. Trayvon Martin is a sensitive issue. It was unfortunate, but ultimately it's not what Singletary deserves to be known for. Look back into his career, and seek out those special moments in the catalogue. He has them. "Jason's Song" from his Jupiter's Child days is a great moment to start with. The musical performances and arrangements on his self-titled disc from '08 are quite good, and there's more good to be found on the net if you sample his goods song-by-song. Musicians should be known for their music... their quality music, that is.

It's quite ambitious to enter the studio to record a "live" record. One microphone, one man, one guitar leaves a lot of room for criticism, unless you're prepared to the nines and turn out a product worthy of praise for the nakedness. Singletary takes this solo-live-in-the-studio approach, and applies it to cover songs. Of all the songs to be chosen by a man known more for psychedelic noodlings and funky rock arrangements, he chooses "Proud Mary", "You Win Again", "You Don't Mess Around With Jim", "Kiss An Angel Good Morning", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Muleskinner Blues", and "Just Pretend". Audibly, it's evident this is unfamiliar territory for him. Great choices... if you're planning on playing happy hour at the local VFW for the first time. Even worse, he's just going through the motions with no emotional attachment to these songs, coming off lazy and careless. Marcus Singletary Sings Country Music Standards is more of an amateur demo tape than it is something he should ask people to shell out their hard-earned money for. See quote above for the irony.






'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.