Local Listen — Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song Get Wild with Their Own Brand of Organic Funk

Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song
Photo Courtesy of Jesse Marcus

Jesse Marcus of Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song described their music as “fun, funky and wild,” though that depiction reaches far beyond the music. From the lyrics, the way they’re sung and their accompanying facial expressions, to the seemingly themed costume button-downs and the hairdos that seem to have lives of their own, Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song embodies Marcus’ preliminary description. With both the music and the listening experience having a lot going on and a lot going for it, it’s no wonder that Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song have placed to compete for a slot at Summer Camp’s debut sister festival, Solshine Reverie.

The competition, slated as the On The Road Tour, will feature Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song as one of six bands to perform for a shot to play at the coveted festival. Marcus exuded excitement, gratitude and hope in the days leading up to the show, who spoke about the titillation of live gigs, the creative process and how the band got to where it stands today. Music is a journey that tells a story, and Marcus’ started with him as a guitar player who was “in and out of bands,” who “didn’t get a fronting chance until this project.” What culminated was the Swan Song, which Marcus called his creative vision, one that is “carefully executed to make sure everybody feels heard” and that includes an inclusive input process.

Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song

The Swan Song came to be after Marcus had stalled a bit in the “real pay-your-dues” type of music industry of Nashville. Arriving in Denver, the local music scene was a welcome breath of fresh air. “I was going to open jams around the city and around Boulder, getting the itch to play again,” said Marcus. That’s when Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song formed, with Marcus as the band’s fearless leader alongside guitarist and bassist Bob Stankin, drummer Adam Darby and newest addition, keyboardist Ian Arras. 

This year will see the band’s first recorded album since 2021, which has been in the works “for a while now” and is the band’s highly anticipated goal at this point. The music can be expected to be a “blending of genres” that is definitive of the Swan Song. While they could be categorized as a jam band, Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song creates far beyond any one genre. “We’re really about the vibe, the songs, getting people amped and connected,” and prioritizing what “serves [the] song and allows the music to really shine and flow and breathe.” Inspired by the audience, they want the music to, in turn, talk to people. “We’re giving them what they want to see and what they weren’t expecting,” said Marcus.

What you can expect from Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song’s set at Cervantes’ on March 7 will be, in Marcus’ words, “a hot, sweaty mess” as they give it their all onstage. “We’re not gonna let up. We’re gonna take everything up to that 45 minutes,” said Marcus. “Expect to be engaged, expect to rocking.” This should work just fine for Denver’s wild music scene, which Marcus credits for shaping him into the musician he is today. Paying it forward to the local fans, Marcus is excited to “show Denver what we can do.” From this Thursday —  and here on out — Jesse Marcus and the Swan Song will be pushing themselves in terms of sounds and genre, being as creative as possible, and making music their life.

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