Marquise Knox was born in 1991 in St.
Louis while his mother was visiting family. They returned to Granada,
Mississippi, but moved to St. Louis for good a couple of years later.
Marquise still resides in St. Louis, Missouri, but also spends a lot of time
in Grenada, where he loves to fish and visit friends and family.
Marquise hails from a musical family deeply entrenched in the Blues. He
learned how to play guitar from his grandmother whose family were
sharecroppers and whose great, great grandparents were slaves. He also
played with his uncle Clifford, who was a major influence in Marquise's
For Marquise, Blues is his heritage and a way of life. He spent his early
teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great Blues legend,
N.E.A. Heritage Fellowship recipient and Grammy Award winner Henry James
Townsend. Marquise's talents have earned him performing rights with some of
America’s most notable blues performers such as blues legend and Grammy
Award winners B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and
David “Honeyboy” Edwards (the
latter two also NEA Heritage Fellows). He has also performed at dozens of
festivals, and has toured Germany and played the Baden Blues Festival in
Marquise met Sam Lay during a visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi. Like other
statesmen of the Blues, Sam took an immediate liking to Marquise and took it
upon himself to help give Marquise's career a boost by insisting that Chad
Kassem bring Marquise to the celebrated Blues series "Bluesmasters at the
Crossroads", which has showcased a virtual who-who of the Blues at Blue
Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. Marquise was an immediate crowd favorite,
and was adopted by all of the elders of the Blues in attendance that year.
His obvious talent along with his deep knowledge of the Blues and vast
respect for his elders made it clear Marquise had something special, and
Kassem signed him to a three album deal.
Knox’s debut album MANCHILD was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best
New Artist Debut. The album was recorded when he was 16, in two nights,
during an ice storm in a church with the world renowned Michael Burks and
his band. There is even a song called Ice Storm on the album. The release
received worldwide acclaim, including Living Blues' Best Debut Artist Award
and a Blues Music Award nomination for Best Debut Artist. Marquise then
recorded a direct-to-disc album while in town for the next year's
Marquise recently released his third album, Here I Am, once again recorded
at the legendary Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. It features Marquise
and his band, with a little help from Wayne Sharp of Michael Burk’s band
sitting in on B-3 and piano. Nine originals, and three reverent covers of
Marquise’s favorite Muddy Waters tunes.
I think this excerpt from Here I Am's liner notes says it best. "When you
listen to Marquise - 19 years old when he recorded this title - you get the
sense that this is what those masters must have sounded like as young men.
Marquise’s blues are so transparent and bare. It’s so easy to feel his music
as totally legitimate. That’s above all what makes it so appealing. That’s
what makes Marquise Knox special. He’s the whole package. A throwback blues
master on the rise. Anybody believe in reincarnation?"
“…already poised, confident, and brandishing an arsenal of powerful,
no-nonsense vocal and guitar skills that projected not only way beyond his
years, but way back to the spirits of the blues masters of yore.”
– Jim O’Neal Founding Editor / Living Blues Magazine