News, Reviews

Max Jury Releases New Track ‘Highway Song’ – Out Now via Marathon Artists

April 22, 2021





Des Moines, Iowa singer-songwriter Max Jury releases his new track ‘Highway Song’ alongside its animated lyric video, his first original song since 2019. The track follows prior collaboration with Bristol’s indie-darling Fenne Lily, a cover of PJ Harvey’s The Desperate Kingdom of Love’. It continues down the trail of an ambitious year for Max, which will see him releasing music in phases, culminating in an album later in the year. Across the coming months, he will release the first collection of songs, entitled The Shade and The Grass, out in full on the 16th of June via Marathon Artists

Max Jury brings such magic and marvel to their musical creations. “Highway Song” showcases Jury’s tender attributes and sumptuous melody found within the lyrical flow. This mellow pace flairs through certain intense moments which adds such a compelling depth to the expressive soundscape, soft and sincere elements complement the fragile singer and delicate ensemble. This heavenly infliction soars from the soulful orchestration, Max knows how to move their audience.

Highway Song’ is particularly significant as it laid the sonic foundations for his forthcoming music. Max explains, “‘Highway Song’ was the first one written for the new album. It set the tone stylistically and provided a road map for how I wanted to express myself. It sounds silly, especially ten years into making records, but I felt like I finally found my voice.”

Max attributes the inspiration from his current reality, with him being back home for the first time in forever. The track carries the hushes and lulls of the lockdown period, underpinned by a hunger for a faster life. A late sixties Bruce Springsteen epic, “‘Highway Song’ is quarantine daydream, a Badlands-esque story begging for movement in a very stationary time for all of us. But most importantly maybe, it’s a song about being grateful for life itself.”

Although maintaining his signature great American songwriting style, Max wanted to feature newer skills that he had learnt during this period: “I was playing a lot of guitar in the early stages of the old Covid, teaching myself a little bit of finger-picking. That changed my approach. So, with all those ideas, ‘Highway Song’ definitely has a bit of Rotary Connection in the back of my mind. I was loving that big, epic folk-soul sound from the late Sixties and early Seventies.”

In 2015, Max had set out for London, aged only 18, to tap into the early buzz around the demos he’d made while studying in Boston. After signing with Marathon Artists in the UK, Max released his self-titled debut album the following year to wide critical acclaim before heading out on his first tour alongside a full band. Their opening show saw them support Lana Del Rey in Chicago which eventually led to an invitation to join Del Rey for further dates on her world tour, as well as a run of shows supporting Rufus Wainwright across the UK. For his second album, 2019’s Modern World, Max decamped to Los Angeles to work with the Grammy-adjacent talent Robin Hannibal (Little Dragon, Kendrick Lamar), before moving to Paris for six months. 

But like the rest of us this past year, the singer-songwriter has had no option but to curb his wanderlust and kick his heels. Hunkering down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, working out of a studio run by an old friend next to his old friend’s parents’ house, with, mainly, just that old friend, Stacy Harden, for company. Max relished in the sense of simplicity and grounding which lockdown inevitably caused,  allowing him to take a more intimate and hands-on approach to his process. He reflects,“When you’re always in motion and always chasing whatever the label wants you to do, or whatever goals you have, it’s hard to have time to actually stop, and learn, and grow, and get better. Which I really wanted to do. This whole time has been useful: it’s given me time to sit tight and focus.” The result is a collection which sees Max lay his desires bare.  Self-producing and self-engineering with Stacy, Max was playing guitars and keyboards, “and whatever synth stuff is going on” with Stacy on drums and bass. “We got Fryars in London to do some percussion work,” Jury explains, “then got some people to sing on it if they wanted to. So all told it does feel very DIY this time round, which I’m enjoying very much.”

However life after lockdown looks, Jury is energised by the prospect of releasing new music this year – something he plans to do on his own terms and in his own way. ‘Highway Song’ reveals Max’s own exit out of lockdown, awaiting the spellbinding treasure trove of what he feels will be his most honest offering to date.

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