Someone takes notice...
2012 The Mississauga Arts Council (MARTY) Award for Established Artist of The Year
AWARD NOMINATION BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR - It’s
a Long Road
Entertainer of The Year - Johnny Max Band
Drummer of the Year – Vince Maccarone
Horn Player of The Year – Johnny Johnson
2008 JUNO AWARD NOMINATION BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR - A Lesson I've Learned
3 Maple Blues Award Nominations for the Johnny Max Band - A Lesson I've Learned
2007 Recording of the Year - A Lesson I've Learned
2007 Songwriter of the Year - Martin Alex Aucoin & Johnny Max
2007 Electric Act of the Year - Johnny Max Band
"A Lesson I've Learned" The Blind Lemon Top Twenty Canadian Blues Albums of 2007 ...#4 ...CHMR Radio
Johnny Max Band "A Lesson I've Learned" top 100 CD (#18) August 2007...Real Blues Magazine
Johnny Max Band "Ride & Roll" top 100 CD (#27) issue
#30...Real Blues Magazine
A Long Road" will surely please fans of the Johnny Max Band, and it
is also going to attract a lot more new fans to this excellent band as
well....It's A Long Road" gets my highest rating of 5 Stars... Highly
Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyable..."
"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."
Johnny Max Band, filled with
Rick Davis Crossroads Blues Society
"Fantastic Saturday night show and rolling through my Monday morning with the Johnny Max Band. Simply sublime. Thanks Johnny, you the man."
Johnny, good to hear from you. We had a great time in Canada. The quality of music at the Shuffle was outstanding. I loved your band and the CD. You have some new fans here in Colorado! Thanks, and hope to see you again some where down the 'Blues Highway'.
Thanks John!! Great to see you!! Always love your shows!! You really should bottle that on stage energy you have and sell it though!! lol Get rich quicker!! lol See you in September.......at the Shuffle!!
Ann (Audience member at Peterborough Market Hall)
Thank you all for helping me make our first Legends Row Induction Ceremony such a great success. When I need to WOW an audience I know I can always count on my great friends here in Mississauga to get the job done and all of you certainly stepped up to the plate yesterday. I will be forever grateful.
So nice meeting you. Great place eh! Love your voice. Look forward to listening to your CD. Take care till next time. Thanks John McAneney for introducing us to your world of music. You have the best "So Called Friends".
Lucille O'Sullivan - Johnny max & His So Called Friends @ the Purple Heather Pub – each Sunday afternoon
Johnny Max Band
“Call what you want; we call it Roadhouse Soul…” - Rico Ferrierra - Blues For A Big Town
A Johnny Max Band performance has always proven to be a hugely entertaining rockin’ and reelin’ event featuring great music punctuated with a good dose of humour. Over the course of 6 critically acclaimed and commercially accepted releases, Max and his partners have succeeded in bringing the musical goods and charm of their live shows into their studio work as well. The tradition endures on arguably Max’s best release to date, Roadhouse Soul.
Max, long a practitioner of sidestepping the accepted and confining boundaries of traditional blues, continues to stay true to his musical vision on this outing. That vision is a swampy blend of blues and R&B, or “Roadhouse Soul” as he calls it, that borrows more from R&B found south of the Mason Dixon line than it does from traditional blues. But the real magic is that Max can take the various influences – and there are a few of them here – and distill them to take you through the bumps and the grinds of a varied musical landscape.
The 10 originals spotlight all of the elements that provide Roadhouse Soul its enduring appeal: straightforward vocals, insightful songwriting, tight ensemble playing, and that unmistakable swing that keeps your body moving. Of note is the title track, a driving, unabashed, all out rocker complete with a frat boy chorus that just invites you to sing along. But don’t write off the entire collection as a one trick guitar driven effort or your sensibilities will be shaken with numbers displaying different styles and intonations that provide both an emotional and creative depth. Namely: Americana Pop (“Lend A Helping Hand”), Uptown Funk (“I’m Your 9-1-1”), a Tom Waits infused ballad (“I Wish I Could Write You A Love Song”), and Cajun Jazz (“We’ve Been Together For Such A Long Time”).
Primary songwriters are Johnny Max and Kevin Vienneau who also double as producers of the disc. And all is laid down by Max’s fine band: Kevin Vienneau (guitars, mandolin, & vocals), Rob Gusevs (keys), Russ Boswell (bass), Jim Casson (drums), Quisha Wint (background vocals).
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JOHNNY MAX BAND - ROADHOUSE SOUL - Bob Mersereau - January 3, 2017
Sometimes all it takes is one line to make an album fun. In this case, it's when Johnny Max sings, "She makes John Lee Hooker go boom, boom, boom." There are plenty more like that on the new Johnny Max Band album, but that gives you an idea of the good-time feel the group doles out. Max has a warm, jovial voice, with some Leon Redbone lowness, but still very tuneful. The music's upbeat, with Rob Gusevs' keyboards and Kevin Vienneau's mandolin adding lots of brightness.
They can rock as well, again heavy on the good times, as the title track shows. Co-producer Vienneau proves to be a big and brash lead guitar player on this track that echoes classic B.T.O. But they can turn it around and get introspective and soulful too, on Lend A Helping Hand. As usual, Max is playing all over Southern Ontario in all his various groups and gigs, but there are some special album launches with the JMB coming up, all listed at the johnnymaxband.com site.
Mary4Music.com - Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro - Blues Editor
By far the best of all your CDs. Nice stuff.
Johnny Max Band Roadhouse Soul Pour Soul - Toronto Blues Society - January, 2017
John Valenteyn - John's Blues Picks - Host JohnValenteyn's Blues - CIUT 89.5FM
The JMB is actually an entirely new band behind our favourite front man. Kevin Viennau is the guitarist and co-songwriter, Rob Gusevs is on keys, Russ Boswell, bass and Jim Casson, drums – veterans all. Johnny Max and Kevin have ten excellent originals here for your enjoyment. They can certainly rock out: the opener, “Couldn’t Happen To A Nicer Guy”, is the tale of a not very nice person who gets what he deserves. “Blind Leading The Blind” is a stunning diatribe about our political & social leaders who have gotten us, all of us, in such a dreadful state – well-written, powerful stuff. A little funk follows in “(I’m Your) 911” with Johnny singing that he’s standing by to help. Some Stones-style rock follows about a knockout woman in a ”Little Yellow Dress” . “I’ m Broke” doesn’ t need much explanation but it starts with some fine blues piano before Viennau joins in on mandolin – they do country blues very well too. The title song will be their new anthem I’m sure, a roaring statement of what they do – you’ll hear this one every show. More social commentary is on hand as well with a beautifully written and sung plea to please “Lend A Helping Hand”. “Time Well Wasted” is an excellent song about a couple of a certain age getting together.
Johnny Max Band Roadhouse Soul Pour Soul - La Hora Del Blues - April, 2017
Over the years The Johnny Max Band have over gained a reputation of a band which really knows to entertain, catch and give joy to different audiences, thanks to a funny, attractive and full of rhythm music, together with a well-chosen repertoire and song lyrics that always have an extreme and accurate sense of humour. All the good things the band gives in his live shows are also well reflected in every album they publish, which happens in this latest work where they have included ten songs to let us discover their musical knowledge and extensive experience. Johnny Max on vocals, Kevin Vienneau on guitars, mandolin and vocals, Rob Gusevs on keyboards, Russ Boswell on bass, Jim Casson on drums and Quisha Wint on backing vocals and harmonies, manage to create a warm atmosphere and an engaging background that will delight listeners, taking them to a musical field the band mastery knows, where they show their complete control of tempos, rhythms, melodies and composition skills. VERY GOOD.
I have been listening to a few CD's recently-- and I have to recommend a bit of listening pleasure to y'all!
#1--Johnny Max Band---Roadhouse Soul---I am in heaven listening to this one --- Johnny's CD's have never ever disappointed---check this one out, NOW!!!
Congrats on your new disc. I’ve had it in my car player for a few weeks and enjoyed playing it while out on the road. A great selection of tunes, grooves and instrumental flavours. Kudos to you and Kevin on the production. I love the way it moves from one song to another never sounding the same. Some moments a little Rolling Stones, then Paul Carrick, then Bonnie Raitt to Van Morrison. Your voice sounds great too, particularly on “I wish I could write a love song”. I keep hearing “the blind leading the blind” in my head - quite the ear worm you got there and a cool lyric too! Anyway well done.....
Takin' it to the Max
Market Hall braces for the explosion that is singer Johnny Max
When you can't become one with the instrument, become the instrument.
That approach has served Johnny Max extremely well, evidence of that on full display this Saturday night (March 23) at Market Hall as Max brings his trademark over-the-top stage energy back to Peterborough. Tickets to the 8 p.m. show cost $25, $20 for students and seniors, at the box office, Moondance or order online at www.markethall.org
Just last fall, Max played the same venue as part of The Last Waltz Tribute and, over the past few summers, he's brought his act to the patio gazebo in back of the Holiday Inn.
"There's a really good vibe in Peterboroughâ?¦it's one of the funkiest places to play and that patio thing is one of the coolest gigs I've done," enthuses Max.
That's a nice endorsement from a guy who, over two decades, has played numerous shows and festivals. To each, he has brought a level of energy that is a notch above out-of-control.
"I'd love to be one of those guys who can be still up there," he laughs.
"I have to be the centre of attention. Too many Fruit Loops, I guess. I've always been that way. I don't play an instrument, so I have to make up for that. Can't help itâ?¦I just feel the music and away I go. People respond to it and that just makes me even more animated."
But there is substance behind the showmanship. Max can sing, be it blues, soul, funk or a hybrid of all three. And that talent has been validated in a big way by those in the know.
His latest album, It's A Long Road, picked up a second Juno Award nomination. The album prior, A Lesson I've Learned, was also nominated for a Juno. And there's been his three Maple Blues Award nominations, each time in the Entertainer of the Year category.
"The recognition does mean somethingâ?¦it strokes your ego but more than that, it says you're on the right track," notes Max.
Still, one gets the sense that while the industry accolades are nice, Max remains a dedicated student of the music.
Proof of that lies in his radio program, Sunday Morning Soul. Heard each Sunday morning, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at www.BluesandRootsRadio.com - it was aired for a number of years prior on AM 1430 out of Toronto -- it features a wide variety of blues, soul and R&B as performed by legendary artists as well as up-and-comers.
"The blues scene in generalâ?¦too many bands playing what they think Muddy Waters sounded like; if blues doesn't change, it stays static," notes Max.
"Look at Harry Manx. He brings in a sitar to the music and a whole new sound is created. Still blues, still loyal to the genre, but with a whole new feel. Even the Weber Brothers, mixing a blues vibe with a roots vibe with rock 'n' roll."
Recording-wise, Max says a compilation album of his past work is scheduled for release in the spring with an album of new material slotted for a fall release.
"Saturday night will be a retrospective show, covering past material from five albums, and some surprises along the way," previews Max, crediting "a great band" for its part.
"I live for the performance. Recording is different and that's OK but I really feed off the energy of a room. That's what it's all about for me."
About Thornbury Jazz By The Bay Music Series
great to hear you & the band, and the comments around me were that you
guys charmed them with your physicality, your energy on stage. you
guys were a *party* and this series needs that. effen great.
from The Cove Inn show presented by Blues n The Rideau
from attendees that night:
was delicious and so was the company. Music was incredible. Johnny Max
Band rocks the house!"
band was soooo... good. Loved it from start to finish. Hard to stay in my
Candy, Inverary (First timer at The Cove Inn)
first time at The Cove and we really enjoyed it - personable staff,
delicious dinner and the Johnny Max Band was absolutely amazing. We are
looking forward to listening to their CD's that we bought. We'll be
back!" Sarah Mattie & Josh Kirkey,
The Johnny Max Bigger Band - Revival Bar, Thursday January 13, 2011 - by Eric Thom
It seems it’s almost become tradition every two years or so.
‘Twas on a fateful night back in 2008 that a determined Johnny Max decided to get a jumpstart on the weekend’s Blues Summit by holding a blow-out party at the sound-friendly Trane Studios.
The show would feature Johnny and his band together with Paul Reddick and his makeshift squad of musical notables. That was before a severe, 2-day blackout swallowed up a good section of the city and, on the night of the show, Johnny was forced to move his party out of the black and about 2 blocks north to carry on with his plans at a barely heated Mayday Malone’s.
The resulting musical mayhem proved more than memorable and those who missed it, kicked themselves all weekend long.
With the release of his newest CD, It’s A Long Road, Johnny figured he’d get things cooking in similar fashion to help kick off this year’s Summit.
The Revival Bar was abuzz as Johnny’s regular band consisting of Vince Maccarone (drums & percussion), Wayne Deadder (bass, guitars, background vocals), John Findlay (guitars, vocals). Paul Ormandy (percussion) and Jesse O’Brien (keyboards) were to be supplemented with a full horn section comprised of Johnny Johnson (sax), Gord Myers (trombone), Steve Crowe and Kevin Turcotte (trumpets).
Given Johnny’s twisted R&B take on the blues – realized to a tee on the Juno-contending It’s A Long Road – that’s tantamount to giving David Berkowitz a new box of bullets for his birthday. Needless to say, the added horn power would help add considerable punch and groove to the new material.
Needless to say, indeed. As the temperatures plunged outside, the mercury rose quickly in the house. Johnny seemed somewhat nervous given that some of the material had not yet been performed live but he needn’t have been.
The house was full of supportive friends and fans and, based on the Juno success of his last outing and Johnny’s multiple Maple Blue nominations for the upcoming Awards show, this was a massive pep rally for the pre-converted.
In no particular order, The Johnny Max ‘Bigger’ Band ran through a blistering double-set of new classics together with choice tracks from A Lesson I’ve Learned and Ride & Roll. Stand-outs included the slinky, horn and piano-driven “Daddy’s Little Girl” from the new album together with the extra-greasy “One Day”.
A surprise highlight was Wayne Deadder’s original “Song of New York”, revealing another level of sophistication to what the band does best. Ballads like “Heading Back To You” benefited greatly from the horn assembly while the full-frontal assault pushed “Daddy’s Girl” beyond expectations.
John Findlay’s role is key and tough songs like “Too Many Fish” packed a mighty groove while understated percussionist Paul Ormandy demonstrates the added funk quotient he contributes on each and every song (especially evident on “That’s It, I Quit”).
Findlay’s leads are clean, tidy and precise, his concentration never faltering for a moment, lurking behind the outspoken Max. Likewise, keyboard player Jesse O’Brien drives many songs with his tasteful barrage of 88s with a delightful solo on the jazzy “She Don’t Love Me Anymore”.
The rocket-in-the-pocket combination of “Shifty” Deadder and Vince Maccarone – although hidden due to the narrow layout of the packed stage, make for an aggressive rhythm section, providing the perfect foil for their front man.
Johnny Max clearly loves the material and sells it best to a crowd when he can read they’re enjoying it. As it was clear that they were, Johnny ramped up his energy level to match the material.
I’m In Trouble” provided another high water mark and is likely Johnny’s theme song. From the crowd-pleasing “I’m In Trouble” to the hard-driving “She’s Not The Marrying Kind”, the audience were pumped and fully into it.
No power failures. No last-minute complications. Just a night of great music from a band who loves to play as much as their audience loves to listen – and dance – to what they do.
The perfect Friday night appetizer to the Blues Summit weekend ahead, if not a colourful reminder why people have lots to love about our homegrown blues.
Johnny Max Band: 49 Minutes - By: John Vermilyea - New Blues Canada
I must say I really like "Best Of" albums, especially when they come from artists for whom I really have enjoyed their previous releases and especially if they are of the blues variety, for which "Best Of" releases are a bit of a rarity. "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!" by the Johnny Max Band is the latest to enter the "Best Of" ring and after giving it a listen, I must say it is a knockout of an album, "Best Of" or otherwise. "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!" marks the 6th release for the Johnny Max Band, a 2X JUNO Award & multiple Maple Blues Award nominee, plus numerous other accolades including a International Songwriting Competition Blues Song of the Year, for their song "Daddy's Little Girl" from their "It's A Long Road" album. "Daddy's Little Girl" was chosen as the opening Track for "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!". "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!" consists of 12 great Tracks, all taken from the Johnny Max Band's most recent 3 releases, with the lions share, six in total, being chosen from their 2010 "It's A Long Road" album, which by all accounts, was their best album to date. Tracks from the 2007 release "A Lesson I've Learned" and the 2005 release "Ride And Roll", make up the other six Tracks. I had not heard any of "Ride And Roll", so it was a nice treat to hear a couple of songs from that album on "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!". "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!", will certainly please a lot of fans of the Johnny Max Band, as it did for me, as many of my favorites from "It's A Long Road" and "A Lesson I've Learned", which included "Daddy's Little Girl", "Down In History", "Too Many Fish", I'm In Trouble", and my favorite of the them all, "(You're) A Lesson I've Learned", were included. For "Best Of" albums, "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!", is certainly one of the finest I have received in many a year and is an album which should really appeal to a lot of other people far beyond the Johnny Max Band's current fanbase. For those that are not familiar with the bands amazing work, "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!", is a super great place to start from. 5***** for "49 Minutes...Of The Best We Have!", a real winner.
Johnny Max Band: 49 Minutes - By: Gilles Blampain - Blues Again.com
Tout est dit dans le titre du CD, il s’agit bien d’un best of. 49 minutes de rythmes trépidants où viennent s’insérer quelques mélodies plus douces pour apaiser un tourbillon au tempo fougueux. Pour ceux qui ne connaitraient pas encore le Johnny Max Band de Toronto (voir la rubrique ‘interviews’), voilà une belle occasion pour le découvrir avec cet album plein de bonnes vibrations qui en ravira plus d’un. Le groupe, sur scène depuis de très nombreuses années a reçu de multiples récompenses et a enregistré 5 disques avant celui-ci. La sélection a donc été piochée dans les albums précédents. Johnny Max, chanteur à la voix grave et rocailleuse, âme et pivot du groupe aime mélanger les genres et son rocking soul blues, a, selon les titres, des pulsations venues de New Orleans ou des trépidations sorties des clubs de Memphis ou du South side de Chicago. Base rythmique magistrale, solos de guitare étincelants, orgue velouté ou piano sautillant, section de cuivres infernale, ça renverse tout sur son passage. C’est éclatant de vitalité et la puissance le dispute au feeling. Chaque chanson prouve que les musiciens ne sont pas là pour passer le temps, leur plaisir est communicatif. Les 12 titres sont signés par le leader ou des membres du band. Le JMB est au sommet depuis longtemps et gageons qu’il y restera encore quelques décennies.
Johnny Max Band: 49 Minutes - Vincente Zumel, La Hora del Blues - Spain - 4 STARS!
Johnny Max Band – Forty-Nine Minutes - Blues Blast Magazine
What goes into the making of a greatest-hits compilation?
How do musicians decide which songs make the cut, and which go on the cutting room floor? Do they choose tracks that they themselves consider personal bests, or crowd favorites?
In the case of Canada’s Johnny Max Band, they present twelve hits from drawing from previous albums, totaling “Forty-Nine Minutes of the Best We Have.” Even though their promotional info sheet says that “Max’s style borrows more from R and B found south of the Mason-Dixon line than it does from traditional blues,” purists shouldn’t automatically punt this CD out of bounds. It has more than enough energy to pep up any partygoers, but where JMB really shines is in its songwriting skills. In fact, the opener “Daddy’s Little Girl”, originally from their 2010 release It’s a Long Road won the International Songwriting Competition Blues Song of the Year.
This extensive ensemble consists of Johnny Max on vocals, bassists Wayne Deadder, Garth Vogan, and Uli Bohnet, keyboardists Martin Aucoin and Jesse O’Brien, guitarists Deadder, Kevin Higgins, John Findlay, and Ted Leonard, drummers Vince Maccarone and Duncan McBain, and Quisha Wint and Virgil Scott on background vocals. They also have a horn section: saxophonist Jon Johnson, Gord Meyers on trombone, and Steve Crowe on trumpet. All twelve selections on “Forty-Nine Minutes” are originals written by Johnny Max (John McAneney) and collaborators. The three below are all worth a slot on jukebox and radio playlists:
Track 01: “Daddy’s Little Girl” – This perky New Orleans-style number is about a common blues pitfall: a woman in a “short, short miniskirt with legs up to the sky” – and a gold-digger’s heart. “She smiles at me most every day, because I was prepared to pay,” our narrator sings, listing several expensive objects afterwards. All of the instrumentation here is in top form, from Aucoin’s piano keyboards to Jon Johnson’s smoking saxophone.
Track 05: “Song of New York” – It may be a pensive ballad and one of the least blues-sounding songs on the album, but it definitely has the best lyrics. Describing a great American city with parts gone to seed, this song’s best section is also its grimmest: “In lower Manhattan, some pain still remains and drowns in the tears, three thousand names. The stockbrokers are broken; the tourists, they just stare, while the native New Yorkers pretend it’s not there. There’s something that happened on that fateful day – the city got stronger. That’s why I say this is a song of New York.”
Track 12: “Waiting On You” – Another big-band beauty, the album’s closer will get the juke joint jumping. With bongo drums and a bouncy beat, it’s the perfect mix of blues and soul. Quisha Wint and Virgil Scott provide fiery background vocals, and Findlay’s guitar solo sizzles.
This is “Forty-Nine Minutes” of funky fun!
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Tone Monkey - May 2012 - Ian McHugh
The Johnny Max band was definitely a new name to me when I came across their current album recently. It has apparently been out for a while but it has for some obscure reason stayed of my radar until recently, and based on the quality of the record I cannot understand why.
It opens with an easy New Orleans-y stomp with the lazy rhythms, danceable beat and jazzy horns that that implies, joined by a sweet but stinging slide guitar and a voice that sounds lived in and whiskey soaked. As an opener it’s superb and immediately put a smile on my face, and, as the album continues throughout in a similar vein, sets the mood for me having a good time. Great imagery abounds throughout, there are hints of Tom Waits in the songwriting and a strong sense of the storytelling that is real blues music, and the languid, sticky heat of America’s deep south oozes from the speakers. Nothing is rushed, overplayed or flash for flash sake, it’s subtle, somewhat introspective and beautiful instead.
The sound of the record is special too, I have heard very few blues records as well recorded and mixed as this, instruments have their own space, the bass pumps, snares crack and guitars bite just as they should and the horns slice in a way that is distinctly Motown. The whole thing is immensely cohesive and has a flow that has you waiting in anticipation for what comes next while desperately trying to hold on to what you’re hearing right now. This is one of those rare recordings where each song is a gem in it’s own right, easily capable of standing on it’s own merits but when taken as a part of the whole it grows and becomes part of an opulent tapestry of sound.
While the strong New Orleans influence of the opener crops up again throughout the disk, but it’s not a one dimensional record, calling as it does on the mean streets of New York in a jazzy number, in modern Chicago and all stops along the route from the urban north to the French Quarter. No-one it seems is consciously trying to duplicate these styles, they seem to flow seamlessly, without compromise to the musician’s talents and individual style. It seems they have mastered the trick of being themselves but evoking a massive array of sounds and styles, and it makes for a great listen.
The album’s title, “It’s a Long Road”, is a very apt one. It gives the listener a pervasive and expansive musical journey through the blues and proves that you need not be a superstar in order to create a record of lasting appeal. This is truly a great recording, one that really should attract your attention, and if it makes it to your CD player don’t expect it to leave any time soon.
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Dusty Blues - June 2011 - Vincente Zumel
I am delighted to introduce you the new Johnny Max Band work. Johnny is a passionate powerful singer who refuses to be only labeled as a blues artist. In fact, Johnny Max explores different musical ways, always rich in nuances, performing a wide range of roots popular music, giving his particular stamp but always with absolute conviction and a vigorous firm elegant taste. Johnny also has a special sensitivity he shows along the twelve songs included, with gumbos, New Orleans rhythm and blues, southern soul and rock, all spiced with a touch of boogie and groove, in the path of Tom Waits' music. The backing band sounds relaxed and well teamed, with John Findlay guitars, Vince Maccarone drums, Jesse O'Brien piano and keyboards and Wayne Deadder, bass and guitar. A great horn section gives a special flavour to the album to make it sound well crafted, cool and vitalistic.
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Revue Review #12-11 - Eric Thom January 24, 2012
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Time Machine Music, December 12, 2011
For Johnny Max it’s all about the music, and always has been. Although continually gravitating towards Blues infected 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 Debert 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 that 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 its many twists and turns, is exactly where Johnny has always been headed and it’s a worthwhile journey indeed.
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Blues In The South Magazine - UK - January 2011 - Ian McKenzie
a hotbed of blues music there is in
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Cashbox Magazine Canada - James Lizzard - Included in "The Worthy Dozen"
gentleman known as Johnny Max is Canada’s best-loved blues chameleon. He
plays it out fronting the Johnny Max Band, an ever-changing who’s who of
bluesy sidemen, united in the service of the song.
from the get go, the rolling barrelhouse piano lines O’Brien deploys on
‘Daddy’s Little Girl” lets you know how it’s gonna be.
The swamp blues vibe hangs like Spanish moss on 'Too Many Fish'
and 'One Day’ flexes the hard muscle beneath the slow grind.
the most interesting development here is that of Johnny Max as social
commentator, working with lyrics that dig deeper into the musician’s
life (“It’s A Long Road), urban disaffection (‘Song
Of New York’) and yer basic existential angst (‘You Tell
Johnny Max Band - It's A Long Road
Uptown - Winnipeg - Jeff Monk
Johnny (Max) McAneney is now on album number five and, as far as contemporary Canuck bluesers go, this one is a winner. Max has a super solid voice, kind of a less-raspy version of stateside soul/blues belter Delbert McClinton’s gravelly croon, and he makes it work wonderfully over the course of this dozen tracker. Track for track It’s A Long Road will withstand comparison to some of the best albums of the genre and that’s saying a lot. With a tight band and additional horn section making his personal and engaging adult-themed lyrics shine Max surely deserves some hefty accolades. If you are a blues fan of any stripe try and get on this road soon.
Johnny Max Band - It's A Long Road
Rootstime Magazine www.rootstime.be
If you like soulful rocking, boogie blues, you should listen to the Johnny Max Band. Their latest litter, entitled "Its A Long Road" and has twelve tracks. The Canadians have a steadily growing following at home and have gained the necessary recognition.The group consists of more than average number of talented musicians alongside Max himself even include Vince Maccarone on drums and Johnny Johnson (horns). These three were all nominated for three Maple Blues Awards and "Entertainer", "Drummer" and "Horn Player" of the year. Just to say that we do not hear gray mice. The group plays the blues as they believe the blues to play. They seem to be a mix of styles into one production. The result is quite substantially. With winds in a major album has become a lively musical journey with special attention to the lyrics. Musically we wrote perfectly al Listen to the brilliant Barrelhouse piano Jesse O 'Brien in "Daddy's Little Girl", the man excellent keyboardist. The whole gets an extra color by adding the horn section. This is best illustrated in the steaming, stomping swamp blues song "Too Many Fish". We also have a soft spot for "Songs Of New York", a wry story with wonderful music, text and ditto. Live, this album / band splashes give their soulful blues boogie is contagious. And although the wind is not officially part of the band is their contribution determines the overall mood of the release. Funky R & B, boogie-woogie. Like what you've If so, go to the website of the Johnny Max Band!
Johnny Max Band - It's A Long Road
Kippenvel - Ruud Heijjer
Go Johnny, go!
De Canadese zanger Johnny Max heeft al zes jaar een radioprogramma dat enigszins misleidend The Sunday Morning Soul heet. De blues heeft namelijk zijn voorliefde, al is hij daarin net als op voorganger A Lesson I’ve Learned niet bekrompen.
Hij zingt op zijn vijfde plaat twaalf songs, meestal geschreven met drummer Vince Maccarone, bassist Wayne Deadder en gitarist John Findlay. Daarin putten zij en toetsenist Jesse O’Brien enthousiast en geïnspireerd uit blues, soul, jazz en funk.
Deze vier nieuwe, maar ervaren bandleden spelen veelzijdig en moeiteloos. In tien van de twaalf songs worden ze gesteund door Johnny Johnson – altsax, Gord Myers – trombone, Steve Crowe en Kevin Turcotte – trompet en achtergrondzangeres Quisha Wint. Samen met Maccarone en Deadder speelt O’Brien sterke ritmes, maar hij speelt ook rootsy solo’s, terwijl gitarist Findlay hier minstens zo fel en allround is als op zijn eigen cd Fairplay.
Swingende voorbeelden zijn New Orleans-opener Daddy’s Little Girl, de soulblues van Heading Back To You en het op Little Feat’s Spanish Moon geïnspireerde Waiting On You.
Song Of New York, It’s A Long Road en You Tell Me zijn echter meer dan lekkere, afgeronde grooves. Deze muzikale hoogtepunten stemmen ook tot nadenken: een melancholiek liefdeslied voor het New York van na 11 september 2001, een mooie metafoor voor het leven en een serie prangende vragen aan een televisiedominee na de zoveelste ramp. Zo maakt de Johnny Max Band muziek voor hart en hoofd.
Johnny Max Band - It's A Long Road
Crossroads Blues Society - Rick Davis
“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
Johnny Max Band - It's A Long Road
In A Blue Mood - March 27, 2011
from the Toronto, Ontario, Johnny Max has been playing the blues on
radio as well as singing and playing the blues for a few decades now.
This writer had the pleasure of seeing him perform at a Saturday
afternoon pub engagement which impressed me with his vocals and solid
band as well as his way of communicating with an audience, leading me to
buy a fine CD by him A
Lesson I’ve Learned (Pour
Soul Records). He has a new release that this writer finds as
delightful, if not more so, Its
a Long Road (Pour
Soul Records). He is backed by the current Johnny Max Band of Vince
Maccarone, (drums), Wayne Deadder, (bass), John Findlay, (guitars), and
Jesse O’Brien (keys) who are complemented by background vocals and
percussion, plus a full brass section led by Johnny Johnson (obviously a
different person than the late piano legend).
What is immediately apparent is how confident and relaxed Johnny Max’s vocals are and how strong the support he receives. The band sounds well-rehearsed and crisp as if they have been playing this material for weeks (which they may well have), while Max brings warmth, conviction and more than an occasional sense of sly humor here and his songs sound fresh as he ables brings a gumbo of blues and classic rhythm and blues grooves on displayed here. It helps that Johnny Max also has a way with words in capturing the spoiled Daddy’s Little Girl, about the girl who caught his eye with a short mini-shirt who knows how to get what she wants with the band playing a lively New Orleans groove. He also can set the mood, as on Heading Back to You, is a wonderfully sung ballad, while a jazzier flavor marks She Don't Love Me Anymore, as he talks about his women having enough of Johnny’s crazy stuff and that he cannot stay.
The country flavor of Song of New York serves as a background for an almost casual delivery of a set of short vignettes of the dark side of the Big Apple with a nice short tenor sax break. The lively I’m in Trouble, with a latin groove and bright horn arrangement as he notes that every time he opens his big fat mouth, nothing but trouble comes pouring out.” This release hopefully will enable Johnny Max to be recognized for the fine performer he is with a warm and soulful vocals full of personality, and strong songwriting as well as the superb musicians playing with him. Highly recommended.
Max Band – It’s A Long Road
In Britain Magazine - Mick Rainsford
Soul is a particularly appropriate label name for this release – as that
is exactly what Johnny Max does on this hot new CD.
is a purveyor of blue-eyed soul with deep blues and R&B roots – the
sheer power and feeling of his vocals matched by a great band that
features Vince Maccarone (drums), Wayne Deadder (bass), John Findlay
(guitar) and Jesse O’Brien (piano/Wurlitzer/organ) plus a four piece
horn section, percussionist and a supremely talented background vocalist
in Quisha Wint. Oh … and by
the way … the songs are all originals and all well-suited to the “soul
showband” feel of the CD … and I mean that in a really complimentary
way… as this band is hot.
set opens with “Daddy’s Little Girl”, a slab of horn-fuelled, soul
infused R&B that showcases the power of Max’s vocals replete with
bone-shaking piano and tremendous trombone from Gord Myers.
“Heading Back To You” is a great piece of Memphis soul with
more fine horns and featuring a hot duet between Max and Wint – “Too
Many Fish” is a churning horn-fired R&B number with Max’s menacing
vocals echoed by a pulsing guitar riff – whilst “I’m In Trouble”
is “rollin’n’tumblin’” rhythm’n’soul blues replete with
baying horns, lonesome trumpet and percolating organ.
is a smoky late-night feel to “That’s It I Quit”” that is
accentuated by trumpet and trombone - “Waiting On You” is churning
R&B with horn charts that remind me of the riffs they used to play
when the Indians were approaching in those old Western movies I used to
watch back in the ‘50s – whilst “She’s Not The Marrying Kind” is
a slow grooving R&B stomper.
Add in the wistful, yet subtly funky, jazz inflected “It’s A Long Road” and the moody “Song Of New York” and you have a set that will appeal to soul and R&B lovers alike.
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Blues Blast Magazine - Ian Mackenzie
is a nominee for Entertainer of the Year in the 2011 Maple Blues Awards
taking place at Koerner Hall on January 17th in
with the rest of the band (Wayne Deadder - bass, guitar, bg vocals, John
Findlay - guitar, bg vocals, Jesse O'Brien - piano, wurlitzer, organ) Max
produces a stormin’ set with powerful vocal parts, filled out with a BIG
horn section and some excellent musicianship. Jesse O’Brian gives us
some super keyboard licks on the opener ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, while
the horn section comes to the fore on ‘Heading Back To You’. “Too
Many Fish” is a driving stomping blues with super lyrics.
is a nice variation in the songs chosen and the sequencing shows them off
to a Tee. I repeat again, the horn section is terrific!
This CD, one of my top picks for 2010, is perfect for any and all of you who enjoy riff driven, funky, gumbo flavoured r&b, with more than a hint of boogie-woogie and it comes strongly recommended..
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Loncar, Blues For You - Radio
On the blues scene for more than 15 years, and have so far released 4 studio albums. They are The Johnny Max Band , and before you respected visitors 'Blues Corner' is their new, fifth album in a row Its A Long Road , which is 2010. The publishing house has published Pour Soul Records .
Blues Society - Sheryl & Don Crow
MAX BAND - IT'S
A LONG ROAD
Max is a Scottish-born Canadian with a big vocal sound and a quick wit who
firmly believes that there's more to leading a band than just playing the
music. For Johnny, getting the audience involved is just as
important, and that's where his sense of humor comes in. And, you
can hear his wit in the lyrics of the original tunes on his latest
release, "It's A Long Road." This one is steeped in the
traditions of horn-heavy bands such as Southside Johnny and the Asbury
jukes, and has that vintage Stax feel in many of the cuts.
Johnny on this set are a stellar group of musicians. Vince
Maccarrone is on drums, Wayne Deadder is on bass, John Findlay is on
guitar, and Jessie O'Brien is on keys. They start things off with
the second-line patterns of "Daddy's Little Girl," and keep that
Mardi Gras feel goin' on with "I'm In Trouble." A classic
kiss-off tale, "She Don't Love Me Anymore," features a sweet
piano and guitar solo at the bridge. And, the set closes with the
brooding, topical tale of the prejudices of the world today, "You
had two favorites, too. A lover stuck in a relationship full
of shattered dreams will, hopefully, "One Day" find the courage
to break it off. And, the jazz-tinged "Song Of New York"
is a story of the seamier side of the city, one you "won't see in
According to Johnny Max, "it's all blues," and he calls his style of music one that you can "move your groove to!" Grab a copy of "It's A Long road" and enjoy it for yourself!! Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow.
BLIND LEMON TOP TWENTY CANADIAN BLUES ALBUMS OF 2010
The Johnny Max Band – “It’s A Long Road”
Parsons, Host – Blind Lemon Blues,
a powerful and excellent album, Johnny !!! Good
blues and soulful pieces of R&B. Congratulations !!
Francis Rateau, Le Blues Café, W3 Blues radio, www.lebluescafe.free.fr
your new CD
has really been some great stuff coming out of
you are the man! So much good stuff it’s hard to narrow it down and
choose what to play
Will start with “One Day”, “I’m in Trouble”, and “It’s A Long Road”
Demko - KRZA FM
for Ottawa Blues Society Winter 2011 OBScene
A Long Road”
Pour Soul Records
by James Doran
who has ever seen Johnny Max (aka Johnny McAneney) perform LIVE knows what
a superb singer and consummate entertainer he is. Some artists just have a
special “feel” for a song and Johnny is one of them. And he always has
a lot of FUN on stage - playing with the audience, telling jokes, doing
killer impersonations (his Sean Connery is classic) and spinning short
stories between tunes. It’s a highly infectious combo. The audience
loves it and the dance floor is always packed. You can’t NOT have a good
time at a JMB Show!
the 10+ years that Johnny has been performing from his base in Mississauga
(Toronto) there have been major changes in his band members yet his sound
has stayed consistent. A rich and varied repertoire - Motown Soul and
R&B, straight up Blues, Blues with a Rock ‘n Roll edge, Swing tunes,
smoky Jazzy ballads - all good! The man is also a terrific songwriter IMOH
and this talent often gets overlooked I think. I love the lyrics in his
songs - classic, ironic, unique, thoughtful and funny! Listening to a
Johnny Max album always puts a smile on my face.
A Long Road” is Johnny’s 5th CD and just as I said when I
reviewed his last one for OBScene (“A Lesson I’ve Learned” in 2007)
- I think this is his best one yet. He just keeps raising the bar. What
higher compliment can you give an artist than that? The band on this album
is completely different from his last one and although he always has
talented players with him this group works especially well together - as
smooth as a dyna-glide transmission: Johnny on vocals, Vince Maccarone on
drums, Wayne Deadder on bass and background vocals, John Findlay on guitar
and background vocals and Jesse O’Brien on keyboards. There’s also an
outstanding horn section on a number of songs 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.
12 songs on “It’s A Long Road” are originals and every member of the
band has contributed to the songwriting and production - a truly
collaborative effort. The album was recorded at one of the best studios in
the country, Metal Works in Toronto. I give the finished product an A+:
crisp, clear, clean and very smooth!
are 12 songs on “It’s A Long Road” and I like ‘em all so it’s
hard to pick favourites but I particularly enjoy:
Don’t Love Me Anymore” - humourous lyrics and a nice “swing”
groove to it. Very nice background piano by Jesse too.
Many Fish” - a hard drivin’, rockin’ Blues number and more excellent
title song from the album - “It’s A Long Road” - a beautiful ballad
with more great lyrics and a lovely loping gait to it.
On You” - a powerful R&B tune with a rock solid groove and a BIG
sound from the fine background chorus and horn section. Nice guitar work
by John Findlay too.
CD came out just prior to the cut-off date for consideration for the 2011
Maple Blues Awards which is really too bad. If more of the Nominators had
heard it I’m sure it would have been one of the top five for Recording
Of The Year. It certainly was on my list. Maybe it’ll catch the Junos
this year. I certainly think it deserves to be there.
know “it’s a long road” Johnny but please stay on it and keep
playing those great Blues of yours. One day I believe you will get the
proper recognition you deserve - that is that you are one of Canada’s
best Blues bands, period.
Buy this CD! 5 out of 5 stars.
Johnny Max Band It’s A Long Road Pour Soul
Maple Blues Magazine, Dec 2010
John Valenteyn “Let The Good Times Roll” CIUT FM
progression of the Johnny Max Band’s
albums has been quite remarkable. The lineup behind him changes
while the trajectory continues upward. The band here gets full co-credits
on production and songwriting, so, behind the bandleader are: Vince
Maccarone on drums,
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Blue Underground Network - John Vermilyea
2010 is shaping up as a good year for the Johnny Max Band. Johnny has got himself a brand new band, for which now garners 3 Maple Blues Nominations for the following awards, Entertainer of the Year, Drummer of the Year - Vince Maccarone, and Horn Player of the Year - Johnny Johnson. He also has a great new album out called "It's A Long Road", which takes off from his last award winning album, "A Lesson I've Learned", without missing a beat.
"It's A Long Road" consists of 12 tracks, all originals and all written as a group effort by 5 members of the Band and as with previous releases Johnny Max stays with a tried and true formula that is both unique and extremely enjoyable to listen to. Johnny Max believes that the blues is the blues, regardless of how you mix all the styles together and instead of just doing one style, he offers us a well rounded potpourri of sounds, beautifully and texturally overlayed with his awesome big brass section, masterfully arranged courtesy of Johnny Johnson.
"It's A Long Road" is the fourth Album by Johnny Max and it plays out just the way he likes it, and that is by way of a fun upbeat musical journey, interlaced with Rockin', Soulful, Boogie, and Beyond Blues. I happened to find a bit of this album to be reminiscent of the Chicago Blues Reunion.
"It's A Long Road" starts out with the tickling of the ivories courtesy of Jesse O'Brien, whom also plays Wurlitzer and Organ on this release. After a few seconds the Brass Section kicks in and we best be strapped in good, cause the show is beginning with a bang courtesy of this Rockin' Boogie Blues Number.
The rest of the album peaks our interest with the Johnny Max Band delivering about half truly awesome soul and half straight ahead Brassy Rockin' Boogie Blues, for which Johnny Max not only shows off his steller vocal chords but also the bands unique and creative writing skills. For "It's A Long Road", Johnny Max not only used himself to his limit, but also his band, pulling out all the stops and giving us a nonstop thrill ride via his fun and entertaining method of delivering the message of the blues.
With "It's A Long Road", the Johnny Max Band have certainly not decided to rest on their laurels and in essence have once again shown us how Rockin Soulful Boogie Blues is suppose to sound and I must say I certainly agree with that.
"It's A Long Road" will surely please fans of the Johnny Max Band, and it is also going to attract a lot more new fans to this excellent band as well.
"It's A Long Road" gets my highest rating of 5 Stars... Highly Recommended and Thoroughly Enjoyable...
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
The Province, November 13, 2010 - Tom Harrison
A blues band with a pronounced New Orleans debt, judging by its shuffling rhythms and the over all bon temps roulez feel of tracks such as the Huey 'Piano' Smith-like "Daddy's Little Girl" or "One Day" or rumba rhythm of "I'm in Trouble." Then there is the brass arrangement of "Heading Back to You," which is more into Otis Redding territory or the Hooker boogie of "Too Many Fish." So, the band might go in several directions but it has a steady anchor. Grade: B
Johnny Max Band: It’s A Long Road
Le Net Blues - Réjean Nadon
Johnny Max un énergique bluesman qui nous rend régulièrement visite surtout en période de festival d’été, nous présente son 5e album. Généreux sur scène tout comme sur CD, harmonies vocales, sections cuivres, percussions, guitares slides, piano, B3 couvert de performances débordantes et de multiple arrangements musicaux. Tout comme le titre IT’S A LONG ROAD, Johnny en a fait du chemin. Un parcours tissé de grands événements et de nombreuses nominations tel qu’Artiste de l’Année au Maple Blues Award 2011.
Ce nouvel opus comprend 12 titres originaux dont les auteurs Vince Maccarone, Wayne Deadder et John Findley sont également musiciens, un vrai groupe quoi ! À la première pièce, DADDY’S LITTLE GIRL (Mc Aneney – O’Brien) on nous installe bien confortablement dans l'ambiance de musique d’un grand orchestre, sans oublier une guitare bien électrique avec un son un peu sale, qui nous ramène sur les terres du blues.
Délicieuse cette 3e pièce, SHE DON’T LOVE ME ANYMORE (Deadder – Findlay – Maccarone – McAneney) une musique lounge avec piano, guitare et sa voix éraillée et jazzy de Johnny Max qui ne ferme pas de porte aux autres styles et cousines de la musique bleu. Le voyage se poursuit avec SONG OF NEW YORK (Deadder) ballet sur caisse claire, cuivres, son de guitare électro-acoustique sur un air idéal. On tombe dans le baril du blues/rock avec TOO MANY FISH (Deadder) une pièce électrique dont George Thorogood aurait peut-être aimé composer. Je vous laisse le reste de l’album à découvrir, chaque pièce a sa place, aucune n’est sur le cd simplement pour étirer le minutage. Bravo Johnny Max Band, un exemple parfait d’un bassin musical pan-canadien de grand talent qui se mérite une place à l’international.
Max hosts Christmas party - Mississauga News - November 30, 2010 - Mike Beggs
his fifth record, It’s A Long Road, nominated for three Maple
Blues Awards including Entertainer of the Year
– including Entertainer of the Year – Mississauga singer Johnny Max
hosts his second annual Christmas party at The Harp this Saturday.
And he hopes to prove the album title true, by touring further a field.
The party kicks off at 4 p.m. at The Harp, 55 Lakeshore Rd. E., with performances by both the Johnny Max Band and Johnny Max & The Heart Attacks. Admission is free, but they’re requesting a $5 donation to the Sleeping Children Around The World charity.
Slipping out of darkness: shining light on the Summit
Written by Eric Thom www.canadianblues.ca January 2009
Right off the press! Read the first review on Friday (Jan. 16) night's unofficial opening to the Blues Summit IV.
The gig was on. Despite a good portion of Toronto being thrown into an icy cold darkness by a 2-days-and-counting power outage, Johnny Max's kick-start to the this weekend's Blues Summit at the Trane Studio was a "Go".
Driving south on Bathurst, I passed Dupont to realize that everything south was cast in total blackness. With no light save the approaching headlights, I found my way to a locked door and a sign on the window stating that the show had moved two blocks north to Mayday Malone's. I arrived to see Johnny and his crew feverishly setting up in a room so cold you could still see your breath. As fans and blues lovers stole out of the darkness and into the fully-lit locale, the venue began to warm up - although sales of hot chocolate over cold beer might have proved the answer.
As Johnny apologized for the power outage beyond his control, his powerful band kicked into high gear and all eyes and ears were focused on the very reason why they'd come in from the cold on this freezing Friday night. The combination of Teddy Leonard, drummer Vince Maccarone and bassist, Uli Bohnet, were just the ticket the crowd needed to transform the ambience from one of an ice fishing hut into that of an intimate, sultry soul revue. Johnny's mix of rockin' soul blues - driven by its crack rhythm section and taken over the top by Leonard's note-perfect leads - was in top form as the band showcased tracks from A Lesson I've Learned, notably the "compulsory ballad", "Write Your Name".
In no time, the band had worked up a sweat and the crowd was loving the lesson being learned - and masterfully taught - by seasoned veterans with a perfect set of crowd-pleasers. Paul Reddick took advantage of the pre-heated room with a band's band that borrowed Teddy Leonard, added David Baxter on guitar, Gary Craig on drums, Jack Dymond on bass and Paul on lead vocals, harp, maracas and choreography. With a bit of a slow start, Paul gradually brought on his best game - but not before, visibly delighting in the band that surrounded him with dynamic sound. The audience realized that this was something special - the combination of Baxter and Leonard lifting Paul's Sugar Bird-based songlist (primarily from Song Bird) beyond anyone's wildest dreams - a lethal team, with Paul's longtime rhythm section turning on a well-rehearsed dime. This coaxed Paul into a passionate performance that dug deep and reminded the room what a powerful poet can do with his unique blend of roots, rock, blues and all shades in-between. It was one of those nights where people just didn't want to go home - and it had nothing to do with it being so cold outside.
A great way to start the Summit was shared by everyone in the room.
Niagara Blues and Jazz Fest, Welland, On, September, 2007
....never having seen Johnny before, it was a revelation! Great funky blues originals & the odd cover including a great fresh take on Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me”. Much to my surprise, former Fathead guitarist Teddy Leonard was in the band. Teddy is my favourite Canadian all round blues & r ‘n b guitarist & he is a perfect addition to Max’s sound. Johnny Max is one dancin’ fool & plays dance-a-matic music which again is based on the early 60’s r ‘n b evolving to soul sound especially the early Toronto soul sound. The crowd loved it and hit the dance floor. Funky blues & r ‘n b was the order of the day.
Doug Carter, Hamilton
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
Usually when I get a CD, it finds it's way to my player at least a couple of times, then it goes away for awhile, sometimes a little while, sometimes a long while. With the new Johnny Max Band CD, "A Lesson I've Learned", I have played it over half a dozen times now and I just don't see myself putting it away anytime soon. It is my first introduction to the Johnny Max Band music and I simply love it.
All the tracks on "A Lesson I've Learned", are a lot of fun to listen to, especially out at the BBQ with a bunch of your Rockin' Blues Lovin' friends, and by the way, make sure you know where the pause button is, because you are not going to want to miss anything on this CD.
Besides the Johnny Max Band's amazing instrumental talents, what really hooked me is the voice of Johnny Max himself. It's got that addictive almost gravely texture to it, that reminds me a lot of one of my favorite blues artists, Watermelon Slim.
"A Lesson I've Learned" was and still is a complete joy to listen to, especially with others whom are hearing it for the first time. Their are a lot of great tracks on this CD, but the ones that I like the most are, A Lesson I've Learned, Down In History, We're Going To Do It (All Night Long), Going Down Standing Up, and When I Sing The Blues...
For those of you whom are not familiar with the Johnny Max Band, what are you waiting for? For those of you whom are, "A Lesson I've Learned" will not disappoint.
The Johnny Max Band has paid it's dues and is sending the lessons they have learned to all their loyal fans.
LESSON I'VE LEARNED
by James Doran
do you get when you cross a slightly mad Scots / Irishman with a
guy who grew up in Etobicoke in the late 60s/70s listening to
blues, pop, soul, rock ‘n roll and R&B?
You get Johnny Max (aka McAneney), that’s what.
Anyone who has seen this man play LIVE – or listened to
his weekly Sunday Night Soul show on Toronto’s AM 1430 – knows
how much he loves his music.
When you see the Johnny Max Band perform it’s the full
Monty – great sound from a tight, veteran backline supporting
Johnny’s powerful vocals sung with passion and feeling –
combined with a non-stop blast of jokes and impersonations (Sean
Connery especially). It
makes for a very entertaining night.
If there’s another blues band out there that has as much
fun as these guys – and gets the crowd feeling exactly the same
way – please tell me!
Lesson I’ve Learned” is the 4th album for the
Johnny Max Band over the 12 years of their career.
Not to take anything away from the others, but this one is
unquestionably the best for my money.
I think it’s a serious contender for Best Blues CD of the
Year. Whether it
comes from the band being together longer, the improved
songwriting, Johnny’s growing maturity on vocals, the addition
of one of Toronto’s finest guitarists Teddy Leonard and the
symbiosis he has with Martin Aucoin’s superb keyboards, the
solid bottom end from Garth Vogan on bass and Duncan “Army
Boots” McBain on drums – whatever, this band just keeps
getting better! I
liked this album from start to finish beginning with the fun cover
– a replica of the Hilroy Exercise Book older Ontario public
school students will instantly recognize (Bored of Education,
Borough of Etobicoke). Johnny’s
the kind of student the teachers must have hated but the rest of
the class loved.
of the thirteen songs on “A Lesson I’ve Learned” are
originals – mainly Aucoin/McAneney collaborations – which
makes this album even more impressive.
Each one has its unique charm but my favourites are
in History’ – the opening track.
Talk about hot out of the gate, a powerful rockin’ blues
tune featuring sweet guitar from teddy, lovely runs on the piano
by Martin and powerful singing by Johnny with whimsical lyrics
about getting cleared out by his ex.
of the Credit (The Mississauga Delta)’ – a bouncy strutter
with a New Orleans feel that opens with a Keith Richards-like
guitar riff by Teddy and just rolls on from there.
– Johnny’s vocals are perfect on this instrumental! The B3 by Martin is complimented so nicely by Teddy’s jazz
tone guitar – a ‘sail on’ tune perfect for a sunny day out
on the boat.
& Jill’ – a delightful swing, bebop finer-poppin’ tune
in the style of Louis Jordan that made me think of the late, great
Ol’ Girls Need Some Lovin’ Too!’ – a funky, bouncy tribute
to the larger members of the opposite sex featuring naughty lyrics
by Johnny and nice riffs by all members of the band, especially
Garth on bass.
I Sing the Blues’ – a well-done version of the B.B. King
classic – one of my favourites – that honours the original,
yet has a distinct Johnny Max feel to it.
Once again the musicianship from all members of the band is
all, a first-class production from one of Canada’s best and
hardest working blues bands.
These guys play all over Ontario on a regular basis so
watch the blues news for when they’re in a town near you and go
see ‘em. And pick
up the CD – it’s the best way to ‘learn your lesson’!
Blues Society Magazine
LESSON I'VE LEARNED
Johnny Max has delivered something special on his "A Lesson I've Learned" release. The theme he has chosen resonates throughout the album and he lays it all on the table for us to experience his stories that he tells you about him and his life and draws you in with his soulful rich vocals. He has some of the best blues musicians in Canada in his band. You mix this talent with Johnny's energy, stir in his voice and a dash of the sparkling lyrics and you have a blend of blues and soul music that tastes just right. And that's a fact. This album definitely deserves a Maple Blues nomination or two! Aucoin and McAneney (Johnny Max) have crafted some great tunes and Johnny vocals are dynamic, rich and well performed.
My favourite is track #5 in which Johnny Max delivers one of the finest soul-gospel renditions you could ask for in "Write Your Name". This is a brilliantly written song and fits the vocal style of Maxie boy "fo' sho" and I can almost hear Ray Charles wishing he was around to be able to do this number himself. Beautiful piece of work boys. Well done! Teddy Leonard's guitar playing on this tune is sweet indeed and he is absolutely superb throughout the entire album. Aucoin's piano playing is magical and at times absolutely stunning. His grasp of the many facets of keyboard performance throughout the album displays a wealth of experience and insight that few players have mastered as well as he has.
The Rhythm Section of Guitarist Teddy Leonard, Bassist Garth Vogan and percussionist Duncan McBain coupled with Johnny's wonderful singing and Aucoins mastery at the Keyboard is surely going to have this cd spinning for some time to come.
out of 5
A nice, joyful good album that singer and percussion player Johnny Max brings us, offering thirteen songs that move among blues, rhythm and blues, southern swamp and soul. The supporting band give a passionate work that never sounds monotonous and in fact they create a solid basis to make Johnny enjoy with his natural and specially convincing sense of humour on custom made songs where he gives us the best of himself. You will find Martin Alex Aucoin on keyboards, Teddy Leonard on guitar, Garth Vogan on bass and Duncan McBain on drums. An album that, as Max says, is like an exercise book Johnny Max has learned by heart. GREAT.
Vincente "Harmonica" Zumel
Le Hora del Blues, Spain
This Canadian band from south Ontario has just finished its fourth CD. They bring blues and roots music loaded with first class influences that on top of that are brought with much energy (spirit). One of their ingredients is in their sound of the New Orleans Memphis style, but a slug of rock and a still larger part of the blues makes the mix complete. Johnny Max is an extremely strong singer who has earned the nickname of Motion Machine on the podium of many festivals. Another important member is guitar player Ted Leonard, but more about him later. Drummer Duncan McBain, base player Bruce Longman and key man Martin Alex Aucoin, (who for the largest part made the compositions), make this excellent band complete.
The CD starts right away rather strongly with "Down in History", a number that opens with Keith Richards guitar sounds of Ted Leonard, while Johnny Max, with his Delbert McClinton-like song style and voice make you perk up your ears. In the next number, "Banks of the Credit", that is possibly even stronger, we get the Stones meet Little Feat and The Band, in which Ted Leonard sounds like Keith Richards and in the next moment he seemingly easily produces unique slight guitar sounds of Lowell George, while Johnny’s voice calls up memories of the top days of The Band. And so one strong number after another.
The total disc has a high McClinton content, to say it shortly, while a number of songs carry the stamp of the sound of The Band (among others, "A Lesson I’ve Learned"). "Write Your Name" is again in the best of Ray Charles tradition. Pianist songwriter Aucoin shows himself a worthy follower of Professor Longhair and Doctor John in "It’s Not My Fault". In "Greezin" is the combination Stax/Muscle Shoals perfectly determined coming to a splendid instrumental. The cover "Have Mercy" by Don Covey and "Why I sing The Blues" by B.B. King get beautiful arrangements so that they are not less than the original versions. Even a countown rhyme like "Jack and Jill" reconstructed to a steaming New Orleans shuffle is no problem for the Johnny Max Band. In short, this is an excellent disc of a good band that regrettably I have only just discovered, and that I have to admit with shame on my face. But better late than never. Nobody is perfect, although ..... Johnny Max?
"There's no question that A Lesson I've Learned represents swampy blues and R & B at its finest and many of our blues listeners certainly agree."
Johnny Max Band "A Lesson I've Learned" (*** 1/2). Max delivers blue-eyed Soul singing with a slight Southern drawl (but he's from way up North!) atop an eclectic mélange of Soul, Blues, Jazz, Rock flavors. Max on vocals, Martin Alex Aucoin on keys, Teddy Leonard on guitars, Garth Vogan on bass and Duncan McBain on drums morph from Booker T & The MGs ("Greezin'") to Delbert McClinton ("Down In History") with ease. The title cut is a superb midtempo Soul coaster with a familiar melody (but I can't place it) that sorta reminds me of another great song that deserved more attention (Larry Garner's "When The Blues Turn Black"). The bar band boogies "We're Gonna Do It (All Night Long)" and "Jack & Jill" are fun lighthearted fluff and Don Covay's "Have Mercy" is convincing laidback Soul
From Blues Review, issue 110 (Feb/Mar 2008)
"A Lesson I've Learned" (Pour Soul 0023) begins generically but hits its stride after a few songs with the title track (gorgeous Southern R&B), "Write Your Name" (soulful piano based slow blues), "It's Not My Fault" (funky soul stew) and "If That Ain't True" (New Orleans Rumba-blues), all ideal launching pads for Johnny Max's warm, Levon Helm-esque vocals. The Jumping "Jack & Jill" and a cover of Don Covay's "Have Mercy" are other high points. With secret weapon Martin Aucoin (keys) and the understated guitar of Teddy Leonard, The Johnny Max Band is one tough soul outfit.
LESSON I'VE LEARNED
By John Taylor
Given they amount to little more than a few grams of aluminum and plastic, it’s astonishing just how much personality certain CD’s contain. Case in point, “A Lesson I’ve Learned,” the fourth effort from a newly-revamped Johnny Max Band.
Max, a veteran who’s kicked around Toronto’s club scene for years, delivers a passionate mix of blues and soul that virtually defines what a great bar band should sound like. From the open salvo of “Down In History,” a rollicking romp that borrows from the Delbert McClinton school of roadhouse R&B, to the funked-up final notes of “Why I Sing The Blues,” one of only two covers here, Max and company stomp through a set that fairly bursts with energy, enthusiasm, and personality aplenty.
Keyboard master Martin Aucoin accounts for the bulk of the songwriting (with help on most from co-writer John McAneney, aka Mr. Max himself). Influences are obvious on occasion, but that’s all part of the fun – the song structures may be familiar, but Max and company put their individual stamp on every note here. Tunes range from the jaunty party groove of “We’re Gonna Do It (All Night Long)” to the wry and resigned wisdom of “(You’re) A Lesson I’ve Learned.” “Banks Of The Credit” proves the mud in the Mississauga Delta oozes just as much funk as that of the Mississippi, while “Greezin’” is a breezy instrumental that provides a bit of mid-set-mellow before the energy level gets cranked up again with the pure rock ‘n’ roll of “Jack And Jill”. The boys do a bang-up job on Don Covay’s “Have Mercy”, and tackle the irresistibly catchy “Big Ol’ Girls Need Some Lovin’ Too” with tongue firmly in cheek.
Production is stellar, the sound clean and crisp yet retaining an organic feel that hints at largely live-in-the-studio performances. Max delivers his lines with gruff, blue-eyed soul and Aucoin, whether on B3, Wurlitzer, or piano, is nothing short of brilliant throughout. Guitarist Teddy Leonard is equally adept at stinging rhythmic stabs and clean, uncluttered leads, and the rhythm section of drummer Duncan McBain and bassist Garth Vogan provide a rock-solid foundation built on obviously intuitive interplay.
If slick and commercial is your bag you’d do better elsewhere. But if you like your music with high spirits, sweaty honesty, and lots of personality – the kind where you can actually hear real people having fun making music together – this disc is an absolute gem.
LESSON I'VE LEARNED
Max Band's New Groove
An essential Soul/Blues singer, Johnny Max is an integral part of a Golden Horseshoe music scene stretching from St. Catharines to Toronto. He should be making international waves soon in light of his latest superb release “A Lesson I’ve Learned”.
It’s been 7 years since this reviewer first encountered Johnny with then partner-in-crime Kevin Higgins. Johnny has recently summoned forth a new aggregation lead by keyboardist extraordinaire Martin Aucoin and bravura guitarist Teddy Leonard. To their credit, they wasted no time heading toward the studio to lay down 13 tracks sanctified by boss songwriting, cool arrangements, and contagious grooves.
JM’s ebullient and boisterous voice is in fine fettle throughout as he whips up soulful helpings of Memphis stew of the Stax/Volt mode, with some noticeable New Orleans tidbits tastefully thrown in.
There’s good reason why Johnny’s original tunes have that polished feel to them. He’s been deeply immersed in Soul, R&B, Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll R&B since he was a young ‘un, and takes rightful pride in his comprehensive collection of vinyl. Folks in these parts respect Johnny’s tastes and his long-running Sunday Night Soul show is an automatic turn on.
“Down In History” announces the Max/Aucoin composing team is gonna be a source of ear-pleasing nutrients for years to come. It’s actually about the eternal battle of the sexes with an incredibly catchy “down-down-down” chorus refrain. His flock will also be singing along with “We’re Gonna Do It (All Night Long)”, as much for its funky groove as those suggestive lyrics.
The title track is a knockout with its Sam and Dave-type vibe. Back in 1968, this type of song would have garnered tons of radio airplay. “Write Your Name” will tear at your heartstrings with Johnny’s wining ways with a deep soul ballad in full display. “Greezin” is a soulfully jazzy instrumental where Martin stretches out, and evokes fond memories of Booker T. & the MGs.
“Jack & Jill” is an adult nursery rhyme that bounces and swings like mad. I rank it with anything Louis Prima did in his prime. Everyone aged 3 to 80 will be prancing around the stage like Dancin’ With The Stars wannabes as soon as Johnny starts belting it out.
Toss in a couple of rock-solid covers like Don Covay’s “Have Mercy” and B.B. King’s “Why I Sing The Blues” and it’s apparent that Johnny has learned more than a lesson. He’s become the coolest teacher who makes every moment feel like recess.
THE JOHNNY MAX BAND: A LESSON I’VE LEARNED (POUR SOUL)
A. Grigg - Real Blues Magazine
If I had my own Record Label/Artist Management Company The Johnny Max Band would be one of the very first acts I’d try to sign. Here’s a band that plays the bars in Southern Ontario dispensing The Blue Collar Blues to a rabid following and one can’t help but think aloud “The World needs to hear these guys…”. Johnny and his band mates have a mission and a message and it’s basically the same as Hound Dog Taylor’s i.e. “Have some fun ‘cause when you’re dead you’re done…” They dispense Blues as a soul-fixin’ remedy and connect with The People in a way all bands should. I’m told that Max Band gigs are a wonderful experience with many conversions to The Cause and they have very, very, very few serious competitors in Eastern Canada. Only a few artists really understand that it’s all about giving your audience a Big Present and that Present is the Joy Factor. One must be dedicated to making others happy and realizing that the rewards that come from that are priceless. If you can make a living from doing this than so much the better. The Johnny Max Band exudes these three principles and the numbers of satisfied fans keep growing. 2005’s album “Ride And Roll” was more of a down-home Blues feel, while “A Lesson I’ve Learned” has a Southern Rock/Blues identity. There have been some major personnel changes to the band with Teddy Leonard handling guitar now and Garth Vogan on bass. Martin Aucoin, one of Canada’s finest pianists (it seems that Southern, Ont. is the ‘factory’ for pianists raised on Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and mentored by Stan Szelest) has a spot on the bench, as he did on “Ride And Roll”, Duncan McBain has been on drums for both albums and, of course, big-voiced Johnny Max is frontman with his very pleasing-on-ears vocals. Johnny and Martin have really evolved into one of the finest song writing teams in North America, with 11 of the 13 tracks original and most being standouts, as well as jointly producing this new album. If someone had told me that “A Lesson I’ve Learned”, “Write Your Name” or “It’s Not My Fault” were written by John Hiatt or Delbert McClinton I’d have no problem believing it.
The disc opens with “Down In History” and it’s a perfect introduction (the very important first track is something that surprisingly not everybody gets…) and the tandem of Teddy Leonard’s soul-drenched guitar and Marty’s rockin’ piano/organ makes for a real Hot song foundation. It’s a wonderful sound that nobody else comes close to and I admit I’m a sucker for piano as a lead or co-lead instrument. Both Teddy and Marty are long-time Toronto music scene vets who are at their creative peaks and the rock solid rhythm section is one of the best. Also, Johnny’s great pipes are going to surprise the uninitiated. Track #2 furthers the realization that this is one great outfit. “Banks Of The Credit” will strike a chord in any/all Mississauga refugees who partied on Ontario’s prettiest river from Belfountain to Lake Ontario. Wonderful lyrics and guitar work that sounds like it was nurtured in Georgia/Alabama anchored by Duncan’s talented stick work. Another superb tune. “We’re Gonna Do It (All Night Long)” has Shag Hit written all over it and with an infectious chorus and sometimes naughty lyrics I can picture “We’re Gonna…” hitting #1 on Carolina Radio and that’s a Big Deal (for those of you poor souls who don’t know about the Carolina Shag/Beach Music Scene I’d suggest you Google: “Myrtle Beach Shag Fessa Hook” and delve into the greatest Blues-based music scene in North America). Marty and Johnny have got a knock-out combination in the song writing department and “A Lesson I’ve Learned” would be a Hit in Commercial North American Radio if it was still open to Indie. music the way it used to be. It’s a beautiful song with lots of potential and “Write Your Name” is a Ray Charles-styled Love Ballad that adds further proof. “If That Ain’t True” has a New Orleans flavor thanks to Marty’s Art Neville-sounding piano work and that infectious shuffle-rhumba laid down by the band. “It’s Not My Fault” (Track #7) is a funky toe-tapper with some cool Hammond organ and more proof that this may be the Best Band in all of Canada. “Greezin’” is a Funk/Jazz vehicle that shows off Teddy’s and Marty’s talents and it’s propelled by nice percussion. (It’d be a better World if every band had a Hammond, Farfisa or even a Fender Rhodes…). Teddy’s got restraint that makes every note burst with power and identity. The only cover is a fine take on Don Covay’s “Have Mercy”. “Big Ol’ Girls Need Some Lovin’ Too” is a snappy ode to females who eclipse their male counterparts in strength and lovin’ ability. Nice organ-work and a beat that’ll keep the feet going, which, of course, makes it a Shag Market potential. “Why I Sing The Blues” is a song by B.B. King that no one should attempt (at least in the same arrangement) and these guys pull-off what countless others have failed at. They give it some added spice in the percussion dept. and funky piano while keeping the throbbing bass line. A Nice Gospel-style piano break gives this tune even more of a new identity and they score bonus points for invention. So, I realized by track #8 or #9 that this CD already had more to offer in terms of Great Music/Song writing than virtually any other Canadian release and by album’s end it’s evident that The Johnny Max Band is the Best Band working in Canada right now. Heck, they could even win respect in Nashville, Austin and Portland, Oregon and on that note; a 5-Bottle rating is more than fitting. Boy do we need music like this in 2007! Thanks guys!
John Valenteyn TBS/Maple Blues
Johnny Max Band A Lesson I've Learned Pour Soul
With his various projects and his radio show (on commercial radio!), Johnny Max has become a mainstay of the west end blues scene. This CD shows why. This is the quintet band, with Max on vocals, Martin Alex Aucoin on keys, Teddy Leonard on guitars, Garth Vogan on bass and Duncan McBain on drums. The material is a delightful mix of blues and R&B, just like his show. We get a couple of blues before we get to the R&B and the title song. The original songs are by Martin Alex Aucoin and Johnny Max and I hope they keep the partnership going. Aucoin's own CD is reviewed further down but his contribution here shows a thorough knowledge of blues and R&B forms. Max's lyrics, especially about is own part of town are unmatched anywhere. "Banks of the Credit (The Mississauga Delta)" is all the evidence I need. His singing now shows a remarkable resemblance to that of Watermelon Slim and on some songs may well be better! "(You're) A Lesson I've Learned" deserves to be the title of this one. It's classic R&B, the kind you would've cranked up the car radio each time it came on (and I hope you do that still). You may have thought that songs like this weren't written anymore. The new arrangement of Don Covay's "Have Mercy" will make you sit up and take notice too. "Going Down Standing Up", credited to Aucoin, is another stunner, with some amazing guitar work from Teddy Leonard. Get this one soon. www.johnnymaxband.com gives you several options and it'll fill you in on some of his other projects too.
JOHNNY MAX BAND - A Lesson I’ve Learned
An album that is totally convincing from the first riff of the opener, “Down in History” to the last note of the closer, “Why I Sing the
At home with R n B, some Rock numbers, some Funk (“It’s
Not My Fault”) and Soul (“Have Mercy”), the band from
…”Down in History” will settle irresistibly in your aural passages and “Banks of the Credit” could have originated from the pen of the Stones or of John Hiatt. Greetings from Delbert McClinton, on the other hand, are delivered by the title song. Along with the indubitable expertise of the musician, we are seduced by the song-writer duo of Max/Aucoin; they give us terrific songs and perfect arrangements. The cherry on top is provided by the inspired singing of Johnny Max, which assures the group its high return value. Never mind where the digital detector gets on board: you are guaranteed a good time! This contender for Album of the Year is going to be hard to beat.
Danny Brooks - His House Records
Johnny Max Band A Lesson I've Learned
Yeah Johnny! This is a great cd with performances to match and you're as comfortable singing these songs as my favorite old well worn jean jacket fits. Great vocals Johnny, you remind me of the late great Tony Flame. Don't get me wrong, you've got your own voice, but there are similarities.
I'm going to listen again, but first impression is you've really got something special happening on this record!
Jeremiah Sutherland from - www.bullfrogmusic.com
JOHNNY MAX BAND - A LESSON I'VE LEARNED
Johnny Max's last release was 2005's blockbuster "Ride And Roll". Never one to sit on his laurels, Johnny is back with "A Lesson I've Learned". Most of the tunes have been penned jointly by Johnny and keyboard master Martin Aucoin, making this more of a homegrown, Canadian contribution to the Blues oeuvre than Johnny has released in the past. All in all, another amazing outing from a Canadian Blues legend.
The Johnny Max Band put more passion into a performance than anyone has a right to expect.
John Taylor, independent reviewer
If there’s another blues band out there that has as much fun as these guys – and gets the crowd feeling exactly the same way-please tell me!!
James Doran, Promoter, Blues on The Rideau
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