Combining influences of Neil Young, John Frusciante, Alice in Chains, and Pink Floyd, guitarist/singer/songwriter, J. Marsden creates his own take on 90’s acoustic alt./grunge rock. A Wisconsin native, Marsden first garnered attention in 2016 as one of the top 3 finalists in Madison's 105.5 MMM "Project M" Singer Songwriter Competition with his intricate guitar playing, powerful vocals, and passionate performances. Over the next year, Marsden took this momentum and successfully crowd-funded his debut outer space concept album, “Gravity”.
Described as “a beautifully dark adventure away from earth”, the creative process of “Gravity” was carefully thought out and executed. Marsden’s goal was to use guitar tones, song moods, selective vocabulary, and emotional delivery in the new spacey acoustic rock songs he was writing to tell a story arc of an adventure through the stars. J. Marsden managed to crowd-fund over $3000 to help pay for the necessary production costs to do justice to his vision of Gravity. Marsden, a professional audio engineer for over 10 years, did much of the recording and producing himself but chose to hire talented mix and master engineers to take “Gravity” to a higher level than he could on his own. “Gravity” was released in August 2017 with an excellent reception to its concept. Mike Huberty of Maximum Ink writes, “Plenty of technical skill, a great sense of melody, and most importantly a surplus of heart… Listening to the whole thing in a sitting, there’s no question that Marsden’s Gravity is a clear statement of mood and genre.” Rick Tvedt of Local Sounds typed, “Marsden’s music is for the thoughtful listener, has an artistic integrity, and is expertly crafted, exploring existential topics that are laced with love, loss, and uncertainty.”
Wanting to have a platform to meet and showcase local solo artists, J. Marsden has hosted quarterly singer songwriter nights at The Frequency. He’s also been an active participant in the local singer songwriter circle events where he enjoys the intimate attentive atmosphere and the camaraderie between writers. Marsden believes that music is meant to connect people to one another and to themselves, and he strives to use his own (sometimes very personal) experiences to tell stories that the listener can truly connect with on their own level.
Long before his solo career J. Marsden had many diverse musical experiences, playing a variety of genres in multiple bands and one-off acts. Oldies and 90’s pop radio primed Marsden’s interest in music at age 6. However playing the trumpet in the 5th grade was the first time he fell in love with being a musician, and he became thoroughly involved in anything band related. At the beginning of his teenage years, Marsden picked up playing the guitar and started his first garage band, Blue Furnace. Their strange classic rock/jam/nü metal sound morphed into a funk metal band called Wall Of Funk where Marsden first got excited about band management and the music business. Over the next six years, he carried the band through one hunderd live shows, a full length album and an EP, seven Christmas songs, and tribute shows as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Deftones. During this time, J. Marsden also established himself in the local music scene by joining the popular party punk/ska band, 4 Aspirin Morning, and playing in several pop-up custom cover set wedding bands and an Offspring tribute band.
J. Marsden is currently performing throughout the Midwest in support of “Gravity” and is writing material for his next acoustic rock adventure. He is always stashing song ideas in his back pocket and plans on also diving into new genres with ideas ranging from progressive metal to ambient relaxation music. Original and cover song videos are also on the horizon as well as a small west coast tour this summer. Marsden is available for booking private events, festivals, listening rooms, weddings, and guitar or songwriting clinics and lessons.