Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's A Long Road reviewed by Rick Davis

It's A Long Road
Johnny Max Band
12 Tracks

“It's A Long Road”, is the latest studio cd by the Johnny Max Band, filled with New Orleans style R&B and soul with a hint of boogie woogie. Throughout the cd, Johnny plays the role of storyteller supreme! His supporting cast receiving co-credits on production and songwriting consists of Vince Maccarone on drums, Wayne Deadder on bass, John Findlay on guitar, and Jesse O’Brien on keyboards. Added to band is the four-piece brass section led by Johnny Johnson on sax (who also does all the horn arrangements), Steve Crowe on trumpet, Kevin Turcotte on trumpet and Gord Myers on trombone, a backing vocalist, and additional percussion creating a tasty blend, like a big pot of New Orleans gumbo simmering on the stove.

The cd opens with Jessie O'Brien pounding out those barrelhouse piano blues and a full horn arrangement with Johnny and his storytelling about "Daddy's Little Girl". "Heading Back Home To You" really brings out the stellar horn section with Johnny once again on vocals supported by superior back-up vocals. The New Orleans jazz style number "She Don't Love Me Anymore" echoes out tragic goodbyes from Max woven together with piano and guitar solos throughout. The sad tales of a relationship gone bad continues with "One Day". "Song of New York" tells us of the life in the big city told only like Johnny Max can tell it. They pick the pace up with the ZZ Top style Texas boogie tune "Too Many Fish" with superb guitar solos from John Findlay. Trouble seems to follow Max around as he belts out his lines in "I'm In Trouble".  "It's A long Road" opens with Johnny giving lots of advice throughout the course of life. He describes the type of girl you don't want to bring home in "She's Not The Marrying Kind" with rockin' guitar solos once again from John Findlay. The cd continues to rock with "Waiting On You" backed one again by soulful background vocals. A muted trumpet rings out from the horn section as Max continues with the jazz tune "That's It, I Quit!". The albums ends with the haunting number "You Tell Me" coming straight out of the Louisiana bayou.

The Toronto blues band has become one of Canada's most popular and well respected in the business. Johnny Max has the reputation as being one of the best live entertainers in the blues world today. “It's A Long Road” exemplifies this reputation as one of Canada's finest.

Review by Rick Davis

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