Sometimes with music we want to know what to expect. Innovative material that defies conventions is well and good but there are times when as listeners, there’s a comfort in listening to songs that pay tribute to the best of yesteryear while offering a fresh spin for the modern culture. Max Norton is a songwriter who does just that, borrowing traits from folk and Americana music in ways that immediately put the listener at ease.
The Nashville-based Norton is perhaps most known for his work as a drummer with Benjamin Booker. He has recently sought out on a solo career, however, with hopes of cementing his own identity as a songwriter. He draws inspiration from photographs and world travels, with particular emphasis on the sun, the desert, and the 1960s. There are plans to release his solo record Blood Moon this year. So far Norton has teased the album with two singles, “Hold Me Up” and “The One You Love.”
“Hold Me Up,” as one could expect, is a positive, hopeful song in its lyrics and music. Norton makes a request of someone special, writing, “Hold me up, don’t let me down/ be everything I need.” While the lyrical content isn’t groundbreaking, the instrumental performances and production on the track are strong and Norton offers a smooth, restrained vocal delivery.
Norton takes an even more nostalgic approach to his writing with “The One You Love,” with typical folk instrumentation and delivery. Norton sings about the long and winding path to finding a soul mate. With all those elements combined, “The One You Love” is a song that strives to be timeless and is largely successful in that pursuit.
If these two singles are any indication of the upcoming material on Blood Moon, it will be an album that may not impress listeners with expert musicianship and revolutionary compositions, but it will give audiences a sense of comfort, as if they are sitting around a campfire with old friends. There’s a power to the age-old techniques Norton uses in his music that will only bolster his work as he continues to carve out his own creative voice.