Up Close and On Fire – Max Schang – Review


Written By CJ M
Produced by Spitfire and Kickazz

Full disclosure: I normally do not listen to modern day blues artists. When I am in the mood to listen to something in the blues genre (as opposed to heavily blues-influenced rock acts), I tend to gravitate mainly towards the classic recordings of legends like Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Blind Lemon Jefferson, or the more recent, rawer blues acts that the Fat Possum label brought to wider recognition in the 1990’s like R.L. Burnside and T-Model Ford.

As for the string of Stevie Ray Vaughan wannabes that flooded record racks in the late 80’s… well, Jack White’s remark that it’s too easy to come off as a virtuoso by playing blues guitar is a fitting one for that lot! I bring all that up because this week, the producers of Up Close and On Fire asked me to highlight a few tracks from Back Up Again, a 2012 release by Blue Max Schang.

Thankfully, Max is not a boring and clichéd wannabe that would have me running in the other direction. His guitar tones are gritty and distorted – not clean and sanitized. Instead of claiming minor variations of licks from a starter kit of blues records, he brings some very fluid fretwork that also shows influences outside of the blues genre.


Key tracks:

    • Bad Attitude
    • Don’t Lose Your Cool
    • I’m Crazy For You.

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