MAX JURY - MAX JURY
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release date: 3rd June, 2016
Genre: Country-Soul, Americana, Blues, Southern Gospel
Location: Des Moines, Iowa, USA
Record Label: Marathon Artists
Max Jury is a very talented young singer-songwriter with a great vocal from Des Moines, Iowa. His wonderful self-titled debut album released in early June is a perfect slice of classic country soul with blues and southern gospel influences. It is almost retro 'Laurel Canyon' with a modern twist. Eleven original tracks with quality songwriting from start to finish containing some great hooks and melodies. The closest comparison I can think of is imagine Hosier meets Andrew Combs and Al Lewis via Gram Parsons, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Curtis Mayfield. It's the perfect music for as Max says "driving down an endless stretch of highway at dusk". Describing the album Max reflects, "Lyrically, the album is really just a passport to the last few years of my life; relationships, friends, growing up, moving on, nothing too ground-breaking but things in which I hope people can find comfort and common ground." We all think here at LCM that Max with a huge amount of promise and is definitely one to watch this year. We guarantee it is an album you will have on repeat.
Max dropped out of a scholarship at Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music in pursuit of his childhood sweetheart and wound up working as a caretaker for his home town’s parks and recreation department while perfecting his songwriting. It might account for a between-worlds quality to his music, half in love with trailer-park destitution, half appalled by what he finds there.
The album was recorded at the Electric Ladyland Studios in Greenwich Village, New York founded in the 70's by the great Jimi Hendrix. It was finished at a friend’s home studio in North Carolina. Max reached out to church music director Jackson Russell, whose influence is clear on the album. Along with his three cousins, Jackson Russell helped inject a strong gospel-soul element to Max’s mostly country-based roots. They created the southern gospel-like choir, that further raises the energy of many of Max's songs.
The album begins with the very catchy and strong southern gospel led 'Numb' the album's lead single' It has touches of Hosier. "Honey here I go again, down that crooked road of sin, my Momma locked me out again and hung me high to rust under the rain......I am numb".
The reflective low-fi 'Standing On My Own' has a great feel reminiscent of modern Country blues singer-songwriters, Andrew Combs and Anderson East. 'You've been looking out the window at the people passing by. Always burning down the candle with your famous southern sigh'.
The very Beatlesque piano led 'Grace' has a great electric guitar bass-line. A earnest song about the frustrations of being in love with a girl who is bad situation. Another firm favourite, the pace rises for toe-tapping and very catchy 'Beg & Crawl', a song that would be at home on any Fleetwood Mac or CCR album.
A darker story of an abused child and hope, 'Princess' is full of helpless compassion. “Oh my little princess, momma’s popping pills on Christmas day, I know it hurts...I wish I could be strong enough to come pick you up and take you away.....The tragic life you lead, still haunting in my head”. The gospel backing gives the song a strong spiritual quality.
We move into classic Country Rock and R&B territory for 'Ella's Moonshine'. A song with great arrangements. We love the bass line on this one. "Down below that Dixie line...fried tomatoes.....cherry wine. Ella's Moonshine running all around my brain. When I leave this town don't it look like rain"
With its real retro feel is the very reflective 'Great American Novel' with it's beautiful string and piano arrangements. "Now I'm waiting for a train from New York to Boston. It's not suppose to be this way. That's the price I have to pay throwing roses at the rich girls. When I start to feel okay, that's the price I have to pay"
Another deeply personal song 'Love That Grows Old', Max sings about finding real lasting love and not just fantasizing about finding one. “It’s not love if you don’t have to struggle,” he sings. “It’s not enough if it don’t cause you trouble.”
A tale of unrequited love 'Dreams' follows the tale of a 'redneck trailer park freak' falling for a socialite queen. The sublime and heartfelt 'Little Jean Jacket' follows a similar theme.
Another firm favourite on the album is the final track 'Home'. A reflective song about being far from home and feeling homesick for lover, friends and family. "The thought of you growing old, the thought of you losing touch, the thought of losing you....it's all too much"