Eclectic, versatile and laid back

Marcus Words — from ChristiAna to solo artist

Vicki Wood
Marcus Words with The ChristiAna Band.

Just a small town boy from St. Joseph, Marcus Words burst on the lake music scene 10 years ago and hasn't looked back. He has over 180 shows booked this year as a solo act and recently returned from a five day tour in Florida. He might be the hardest working artist in the area since he is also the bassist for the band ChristiAna. It's not clear how many shows that Marcus is still playing with ChristiAna, but he usually is on the bass and supplying backup vocals for her when they are playing Casablanca on the Bagnell Dam Strip, at Backwater Jacks, Coconuts, and many other bars around Lake of the Ozarks. The ChristiAna Band also tours in Iowa, and Rolla, Mo.

Marcus Words Music, as a solo artist, performs frequently at Backwater Jacks in season, a perfect place for his crowds to kick back with some great food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere experiencing his eclectic style. 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. Clayton’s violin is haunting and resonating. Marcus has other artists join him on stage at different venues on varying nights, but Clayton’s string accompaniment seems to be a constant of Marcus’ solo appearances.

Not that you shouldn’t see him with ChristiAna — that’s one high energy show. ChristiAna Ball, the lead singer, gorgeous and dynamic, can rock a stage. She does let Marcus do some singing, too.

Making his lake debut back in 2011 with a band called Borderline Country which evolved into the band Money for Nothin’ (circa 2012-2019), Marcus was playing all summer seasons at the lake until the band parted ways leading to solo shows until meeting ChristiAna in the fall of 2018, all the while playing solo shows from 2016-present.

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 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.

“My early influences will always be my cornerstones of creation but it's only natural for your influences to change over time,” Marcus said. “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 his level of talent, transcending voice, and level of energy which will keep you glued to your seat, or up dancing.

Where did all of Marcus’ talent come from? Early on he was devoted to the band program, 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 Marcus did not become a band director or music teacher. He did some student classroom elementary education teaching in college. Instead, Marcus 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. 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.

Marcus Words.

More info

His musical offerings can be found online at, on Facebook at Marcus Words Music. He also has a YouTube channel bearing his name, Marcus Words.

Reverbnation features a lot of Words original songs, and videos. Online at

Upcoming gigs

Sept. 1 Backwater Jack’s, 6-10 p.m.

Sept. 2 Off the Cliff, 5-8 p.m.

Sept. 5 Captain Ron’s, 1-5 p.m.

Sept. 12 Backwater Jack’s, 6-10 p.m.

Sept. 16 Off the Cliff, 5-8 p.m.

Sept. 19 Nautifish, 1-5 p.m.

Sept. 23 Backwater Jack's, 6-10 p.m.

Spet. 24 H. Toad’s, 6-10 p.m.

Sept. 25 H. Toad’s, 6-10 p.m.

Sept. 26 Shawnee Bluff Winery, 2-5 p.m.

Sept. 30 Off the Cliff, 5-8 p.m.

Oct. 9 Captain Ron’s, 1-5 p.m.

Oct. 10 Backwater Jack’s, 6-10 p.m.