It's a Long Road
For Johnny Max it's all about the music, and always has been. Although continually gravitating towards Blues inflected material, Max refuses to be limited and categorized, for everyone's convenience, as a Blues artist. He can't do it - his admiration for the likes of Eddie Hinton and Delbert McClinton won't permit it. While his first three releases firmly established Max in the Blues idiom, it was on his fourth, the Juno nominated A Lesson I've Learned, that Johnny added to his Blues sensibilities, and found his groove. And that groove had more to do with Southern Soul than straight up Blues. Of note, check the title track whose chorus might have been lifted from the Dan Penn songbook. Max's new disc, It's A Long Road, picks up where "Lesson" left off - with a wallop! Partnering with a brand new band, Johnny lays down a dozen tracks with a heavy dosage of Gumbo R&B, nods to Rock'em Sock'em Soul, and hints of all-out Boogie work-outs and Tom Waits styled tonalities. Along the way, Johnny relates his most deeply personal stories to date. The core band of Max, (vocals), Vince Maccarone, (drums), Wayne Deadder, (bass), John Findlay, (guitars), and Jesse O'Brien (keys) is ably supported by a complement of fine musicians on background vocals and percussion, plus a full brass section led by Johnny Johnson. They all play an integral role in producing a fully realized Johnny Max Band project that sets itself apart from the majority of the offerings that a listener might find in the Blues category. It's A Long Road, with it's many twists and turns, is exactly where Johnny has always been headed and it's a worthwhile journey indeed. Rico Ferrara, Blues For A Big Town The progression of The Johnny Max Band's albums has been quite remarkable. The lineup behind him changes while the trajectory continues upward......This ensemble has taken Johnny Max's trademark rocking soulblues to another level altogether...... John Valenteyn, Let The Good Times Roll, CIUT-FM.