To listen to Johnny Max tell it, and to watch Johnny Max present it, you understand very quickly that there’s more to creating great music than simply performing a first-rate piece of music well. It’s much more all encompassing than that.
Max’s take includes engaging the audience, making his show accessible. He wants to more than simply feed off the audience, he looks to make them part of the experience. And he does so with his good natured wit.
Using humour to get your point across is always risky because there’s a fine line between entertaining and being the comic. To his credit Johnny Max knows how to tread that line because the music always comes first.
Max’s music doesn’t always follow conventional Blues lines. Rather than be confined to the traditional 12 bar influenced forms, this veteran of the musical wars favours substance rather than convention.
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.
You would think that all of the above would be enough to keep anyone busy but Max also finds time to host a radio show: (“Sunday Morning Soul” on The HAZE FM, www.thehazefm.ca, Canada’s only commercial web radio station Sunday mornings at 11AM and Wednesdays at 10PM.), and co-program the CNE Bandshell BluesFest, (with Rico Ferrara), among other ventures.
It’s all in days work for Max. And he and his fans wouldn’t have it any other way.
Johnny is a soulful singer whose respect, and passion for all types of music is evident. He is also a brilliant entertainer who has audiences thoroughly enjoying each show. Johnny Max has built up a solid reputation as one of those guys who gives 110% and is one of the most action-packed and satisfying entertainers around. Johnny takes to performing like a fish to water, a perpetual motion machine, galvanizing his spicy blend of Stax/Volt, Atlantic, Funk, and Blues into frenzied heights, often propelling himself into the audience’s eager arms.