“Chris Maxwell musically channels the heart of Americana-pop — Big Star, Freedy Johnston, Wilco and the like — in crafting a song-cycle as personal as home movies with X-rays included. A beautifully poised grown-up album in an age that still coughs one up from time to time."
— Jonathan Lethem
Chris Maxwell’s debut album, Arkansas Summer, which John Burdick in the Almanac Weekly described as “…masterful Baroque Americana,” began in a makeshift studio in an Airstream trailer parked in Maxwell's backyard in Woodstock, New York. The dark confessionals of his childhood are stories of tragedy, triumph, abuse, addiction and redemption, all presented with indelible guitar hooks and artfully turned lyrics. "When the drum becomes the drummer," Maxwell sings in the jagged title track, "she beats down like an Arkansas Summer,”
Chris made his name playing perhaps the furthest thing from wistful Americana — in the ’90s, he made catchy, jagged junkyard rock with the legendary New York band Skeleton Key. Before that, he was the principal songwriter and clever guitarist of Little Rock, Arkansas’ first band to be signed to a major label, the Gunbunnies, whose Southern Gothic jangle the L.A. Times characterized “…as if the Beatles met Faulkner on E Street."
These days, Maxwell works out of his new Goat House Studio in Woodstock, where he composes and records music for hit TV shows like Bob's Burgers and Inside Amy Schumer, as well as producing and writing music for other artists (They Might Be Giants, Iggy Pop, Yoko Ono, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) as part of the celebrated production team The Elegant Too.
As for the Airstream, the last report was it's been reincarnated as an American style diner in Turkey.
Arkansas Summer is due out March 4, 2016.
Additional press quotes:
"...pop jewels" Spin
“…an invigorating pop mishmash that’s earthy, literate, and melodic.” Rolling Stone
“…Little Rocks’ finest export since Pharaoh Sanders” Austin Chronicle
“…crafting skewed, accessible, and determinedly original music” Billboard
“…Maxwell’s songs easily could stand comparisons with such great writers as the dB’s or Elvis Costello." Steve Pick-St. Louis Post Dispatch
“…Big Hooks and grinding guitar lines, forward driving drums, strong vocals with Kinks-esque harmonies, and an upbeat, feel-good vibe belied by darkly poignant lyrics…" Oxford American
“lyrics are intelligent—and eerily prophetic” Oxford American
"...sounds as if the full granite and limestone mass of the Sphinx were being forced through a cramped Tenth Ave. car wash during a mortar attack…" Billboard