It's been said that if you truly love your work, you'll never work a day in your life. When I saw Nashville based artist Max Norton play drums on the Letterman show a few years back as part of blues punk outfit Benjamin Booker, I knew he'd never work a day in his life. The band's blistering take on 'Violent Shiver' in front of a national TV audience elicited an "Oh. My. God." from Dave, which was 2 seconds before I uttered the same thing. Yet, after a few views, my attention was solely on Max's buoyant battering of his drum kit. This was work?
And after seeing the band perform in an entirely empty venue in Memphis one rainy night, and in a full club in Birmingham, it wasn't an act just for the big stage. I witnessed someone totally enchanted with sharing their art, and I found myself overwhelmed with happiness.
While the band is recharging their batteries after endless touring in support of their debut album, Max has been busy with his own music. His debut solo effort, Blood Moon, will be released later this year. He recorded it during a snowstorm in Nashville in an old house built in 1886 with inspiration coming from his photographs, his worldly travels, the sun, the desert, and the 60's. I've listened to the first two tracks from the LP, and I'm blown away, just a stunning effort in all aspects. The country-folk composition is knee-buckling gorgeous, yet it's Max's songwriting that shines the brightest. It feels like a road trip through the desert with the wind riffling through your hair. It feels like the simplicity of 1886. It feels like the complete peace found in freshly fallen snow. It feels like the stories only an old house can tell. And it definitely does not feel like work. Find the first track, 'Hold Me Up', below.