The Max Allen Band
Gig Seeker Pro

The Max Allen Band

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Rock Adult Contemporary

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Max Allen's Earthwalker is one of the most well-intentioned albums I've heard this year. Fans of mope and malaise, stay away, for Max Allen and his band travel along much different paths than you. Earthwalker is full of hopeful melodies and rhythms that beg to be driven to. A stunningly full-sounding trio, all of the band members are, for all intents and purposes, lifelong musicians. Their well-honed skills allow them to push the musical envelope within a finely-constructed framework of meaningful songs, constantly working your brain over with instrumental acrobatics but never stomping all over the song itself.
The opening mind-pleaser "Underwear Umbrella" jogs along with jazzy instrumental tightness and lyrical exuberance reminiscent of moe.'s happier moments. The title track exemplifies the style mentioned in the first paragraph, as there's plenty of memorable lyrics to contemplate while the band explores lots of different territory. About halfway through your first listen, it starts to dawn on you that these guys can really play the daylights out of their instruments. Allen impresses with his nimble guitar and mellow voice, which, when combined, one imagines to be quite a treat in the live setting. Bassist Shawn Bryant glides all over the bottom register with ease, playing with the easy breezy manner of a musician/guitar shop owner's son. Shaan France's metronomic drumming stems from plenty of rigorous performing since he was very young, and his percussive accents are made more prevalent by his forceful style.
The sound draws on a wide range of influences. "Left Hand Smoke" pushes a classic blues feel into overdrive. "Low Profile" incorporates acoustic instruments and brushy drums to conjure a jazzy feel. "Too Much" brings to mind the early days of the roots rock and jam movement. There are also hints of R&B, prog-rock, country, and more throughout Earthwalker, a superior studio recording that, through sheer diversity and lyrical atmospherics, lives up to its name.
- Bryan Rodgers 12/13/07


Max Allen has been formally trained on the guitar since he was 8 years old. Earthwalker, the 22-year-old’s fourth album, is clearly his most ambitious work to date. Taking influence from jam sound demigod Trey Anastasio, Allen composes a well-produced jam album that Indianapolis can be proud to call its own. With bandmates Shawn Bryant (bass) and Shaan France (drums), both with their own impressive backgrounds, Allen creates a composition informed by his exploration and experience traveling this land.

For a typical 20-something, this would be a pretty boring journey, but Max is certainly not typical. He is probably one of the hardest working musicians in Indianapolis, having opened for the likes of Kenny Wayne Shephard, Carrie Newcomer, Otiel Burbridge, Dickie Betts and Umphree’s McGee. The June 2003 release That’s Why started gaining Allen some national attention and, with the release of Earthwalker, the buzz should pick up right where it left off. This album is a perfect complement to his energetic and entertaining live shows. Notable tracks: “Underwear Umbrella” and “On The Road.”
- NUVO News Weekly (11/06)


Max Allen
Exclusive Interview
by Ryan Williams

Sun, July 4 @ City Market
222 East Market Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Listen: "Unionize" (mp3)

Max Allen's young age belies the skill and depth of his music.

Music runs deep for Max Allen. When he talks about it, there are connections to people and to family. The guitarist plays what he calls "music of my generation," and he credits his musical family with giving him his start. "I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old when I got my first Fender (Duo-Sonic) for Christmas, so I guess I've been playing for almost 12 years now. I've always had a lot of music around me growing up. My sister Samantha sings, my dad plays guitar and sings and my mom has all kinds of different music playing on the stereo at home all of the time."

Allen has led two incarnations of a Max Allen Band in his young years. The first, known as the Max Allen and the Jam Band, started when he was just sixteen. The blues-based songs got him his start around the Midwest . "These guys (who are my parent's age), made it possible for me to land some really good gigs and get my foot into the business. I am very grateful for all of their help." Wanting to explore more genres of music, Allen reformed the group and looked to new challenges. "I met Bennett Williams (drummer) while he was playing with a jazz band down on the south side at The Catfish Blues Café, which is now regrettably closed. I met Andy Kopis (saxophone) while he was playing with a band at the Danville Blues Festival last year, (which will be held on July 17 th this year, which also happens to be my birthday). I was introduced to H.E. Zachery Jr. (bass) by Bennett at one of the open jams at the Slippery Noodle. I went with these guys because I think they all play better than I do. They make me work harder to get better at my own instrument and performances. I was once told that you need to surround yourself with the best people you can find and good things will come of it. That's what I've tried to do."

That new direction has, ironically enough, drawn on "jam bands." Allen counts Phish and Galactic's Stanton Moore as influences, and his last family vacation was the Bonnaroo music festival. The band has also adopted the touring philosophy of their jamming compatriots. "We are trying to spread the gospel so to speak here in Indiana and the Midwest with a goal of doing 150+ shows per year. I'm also working with my father to build a "retreat-like" recording studio called Big Walnut Studios out here in beautiful Putnam County so we can record whenever we want and offer the studio to others as well."

Allen is opening for The Clarks this July 4th , and the band also has a featured appearance at the Hippy Hill Hoondang at the Bill Monroe Music Campground in Bean Blossom on August 27, 28, and 29. This, in addition to the many others shows the band plays in the Midwest , is a source of pride for Allen. "My proudest musical achievement is that I'm living a musical life. This has been pretty much my only job and I'm still managing to write new music without getting tired of it. Hopefully I'll never get tired of it and won't have to get a regular 9-5 job." And Allen is committed to making it through any show, no matter what. "About a year or so ago I had a gig up in Lafayette and on the way there I got sick and was running a high fever. My drummer Bennett's fiancé is a doctor and she called in a prescription for nausea to help get me through the show. It helped but I still had to have a bucket on stage with me and in between songs, I .well.you can imagine. What a night!"

Max Allen is opening for The Clarks downtown on July 4th.

-- Ryan Williams

Related Link:
Max Allen Website

- IndianapolisMusic.net


Max Allen – That’s Why
(Independent)
News 4U – Evansville Entertainment Magazine
March 2006
(4 Guitars – Superior)

Indianapolis native Max Allen is barely old enough to drink, but he’s already a seasoned musician, having notched hundreds of shows under his belt since he started out while still a teen. With a tight blend of funk, jazz, blues and rock, Allen sounds equally comfortable channeling artists as varied as Stevie Ray Vaughn, Phish, the Allman Brothers and the Dave Matthews Band. At time the style gets blurred – think of Cake having a baby with Sade with Dave Brubeck being the Godfather. Through it all, however, Allen’s guitar virtuosity is the star. Yes, his vocals are fine, and the arrangements are creative without breaking any new ground, but his playing stands out in a big way. He can alternately jump from sweet jazz licks to roaring blues to non-wanky rock leads. It’s a delight to hear him play, and to be certain, Allen will be around for many years to come. By the way, you can check Max Allen out on April 1, when he gigs at the Duck Inn. –

Dylan Gibbs


- News 4U - Evansville (3/06)


Musician keeps busy schedule
By Gus Pearcy
Staff Writer


AVON -- When he turned 16, Max Allen, with the help of his father, Steve, says he decided to take his fledgling music career to the next level. He turned himself and his music into a limited liability corporation. Since graduating from Avon High School in 2003, he and his band have been touring the greater Midwest, playing his unique brand of jazz-funk-rock, which he has dubbed "fock" music.

"It's like a funky blues rock," the 20-year-old said. "It's a fock. Yeah, that's what it is. It's fock music."

The Max Allen Band has played several venues, mostly bars and colleges, as far away as Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Arkansas. They've even made appearances at the Indy Jazz Fest and the Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis.

Allen said he has found a new, appreciative audience in other states. He describes the Hoosier music scene as the "grass is greener on the other side of the fence."

"When you go out of state, people look at you like you're actually doing something," he said. "As a player, I like to see new faces. I like the feeling of getting to as many different people as I can."

After several incarnations of the Max Allen Band, Allen has settled into a a three-man lineup that includes Bennett Williams on drums and Shawn Bryant on bass.

After so many shows, Allen admits that his music was becoming second nature -- a danger to his freeform style of play.

The latest of three CDs is 18 months old and Allen said he's getting ready to go into the studio to record another batch of new songs he's been writing on the road and at his new home in Putnam County.

"With this next album, I think we're going to go more of the pop, radio-friendly but still have the element of improvisation," he said. "Something for everybody on it."

But the latest about Max Allen is his newest business venture.

On a rural road in Putnam County that overlooks a covered bridge on Big Walnut Creek, Allen and his family are building a "retreat" recording studio. Think of a bed and breakfast with a complete recording studio and even copyright registration. Big Walnut Studios offers 24-hour seven day a week access, for a flat rate, so musicians can hit the studio when their muse hits them. It's for the musician that's tired of the price and pressure of hourly rates, Allen said.

"There's too many times when you're in the studio and you're looking at the clock all the time," he said. "It's a pain. It puts too much stress on the creative process."

He said the studio will be finished in February of next year, but the first customer will be Allen and his band.

With the underpinnings of the studio as a base, Max Allen Music LLC will start a new record label.

Allen says this has been his dream since he was 15 years old and the live shows, CDs, and recording studio equals success.

"I'm already successful," he said. "I'm doing what I want to do. You know, most people have to wake up and say, 'Oh, I'm going to work. This sucks.' I like working. I'll take it as far as I can go with it, but I'll always be writing. If I could be constantly out (playing live shows) and then coming back to a place, that's success."

The Max Allen Band is scheduled to play 8 p.m. Jan. 7 at The Rathskeller in Indianapolis; 9:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Cicero's in St. Louis, Mo.; 9 p.m. Feb. 18 at DJ's in Clinton, Iowa; and 7 p.m. March 10 at The Rathskeller in Indianapolis.

For more information about the Max Allen Band, visit the website at www.maxallenmusic.com. For more information about Big Walnut Studios, visit the website www.bigwalnutstudios.com.

gus.pearcy@flyergroup.com


- Hendricks county Flyer


Max Allen brings his sensational blues-rock licks to the Music Mill this Saturday to celebrate the release of his fourth CD, Earthwalker.
The 21-year-old Avon High School graduate has been compared to Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton and Jonny Lang for his ability to compose and perform stellar guitar-driven tracks with a heavy blues-rock edge. Performing live since age 16, Allen has garnered praise and grabbed the attention of a growing number of fans for what he calls “fock” — a funky blues rock style that highlights both his strong vocals and guitar abilities.
Having fronted the blues-based band Max Allen and the Jam Band for two years, Allen recently opted for a change in direction and formed The Max Allen Band, which explores several genres of music, including jazz, funk, R&B and rock. With Shaan France on drums and Shawn Bryant on bass, the trio has been touring the national college circuit and winning over crowds with powerful live performances.
Their new CD features 13 tracks, most notably “Underwear Umbrella,” “On the Road” and the title cut, “Earthwalker.” Each of the tunes is driven by the high-energy sound that has earned Allen the reputation of guitar prodigy. France’s drums and Bryant’s subtle but skillful bass playing are the perfect complement for Allen’s songs, and the band comes together on every track to deliver a technically solid and highly enjoyable sound that makes it nearly impossible to sit still.
While the concert will feature songs from the new CD, Allen’s penchant for jam band improv will probably mean the live show will give fans a chance to experience the new songs in an incarnation the studio tracks can’t capture.
- NUVO News Weekly



Max Allen has been playing guitar since he was 8 years old. In his current incarnation, the Max Allen Band, Allen, drummer Bennett Williams and bassist Shawn Bryant whip up a fevered hodgepodge of jazz, funk, R&B and rock. You can find Allen and his cohorts performing all over central Indiana. (Photo provided)

Early start makes Max Allen a guitar wunderkind

By Wade Coggeshall
wade@jrpress.com


Max Allen was like most teenagers.
The Reelsville (Putnam County) resident was graduated from Avon High School in 2003. In his school days, he played football and baseball and was on the swimming team. Where he set himself apart from his peers was through music.

At 20 years of age, Allen already has fronted two bands named after him, released three albums, toured as far away as Florida and Texas and performed national and regional showcases.

Allen credits his father, a guitarist himself, for instilling the passion for music in him. Allen received his first guitar for Christmas, when he was 8 years old. He immediately sought the tutelage of some of Indiana’s best musical instructors, most recently classical guitarist and Butler University professor Brett Terrell.

“It’s just putting yourself around the best people possible, surrounding yourself with people who are smarter or wiser than you,” Allen said of his lessons. “You learn from it. You want to be better. You want to push yourself.”

Allen, in part, credits such training to his swift proficiency.

“When you think of playing guitar as being a carpenter, the more you do it the more experience you get,” he said. “You get a head start and you become a little more experienced because you’re spending more time with it. You put years and time under what you do, and you become more of a master at your trade.”

Allen pinpoints his decision to pursue music professionally to a football injury he suffered during his freshman year. The knuckle on his left ring finger was broken between two face masks. At that point, Allen decided he had a choice to make and stuck with music.

The decision, it seems, so far has been correct. While still in high school, Allen formed Max Allen and the Jam Band at age 16. The group issued two albums, “No Way” and “Mr. Big Man.” Performing mostly blues-based rock, Allen decided to go a different direction after two years.

“It was great, but I was raised to expand my horizons,” he said of his time fronting the Jam Band. “It’s not just blues. There’s a lot of different good styles of music and a lot you can take from different things and use them in other senses. It becomes one of its own. It’s having an open mind to like something that doesn’t sound right. You’re like, ‘Wait a second, somebody likes this for a reason. Let’s find the reason I should like it.’ As bad as a song can be, there can always be a highlight.”

So Allen started a trio called the Max Allen Band, featuring Bennett Williams on drums and Shawn Bryant on bass. Members of this new entity take their open minds and backgrounds to heart, whipping up a fevered hodge-podge of jazz, funk, R&B and rock. Their debut release, “That’s Why,” came out in June 2003.

Allen knew Bryant from their days of hanging out in Six Strings Down, a guitar shop in Plainfield. Being a few years older than Allen, Bryant headed west with the intention of joining a band for a European tour. When that was canned, the guitar shop’s owner told him to come home and collaborate with Allen.

Williams, a California native and Chicago resident, moved to Bloomington to attend Indiana University. While there, he played in several punk bands. His focus turned to jazz when he started performing with the Kelly Jay Orchestra. Jay, in turn, introduced Allen to Williams, and the two immediately started working together.

“Both of them are just outstanding musicians,” Allen said. “How I play on guitar really compliments the way Bennett plays and vice-versa. The same goes with Shawn. There’s just a connection. It’s priceless.”

The talent is certainly there, but Allen has leaned heavily on his father to help him with the business side of music. The elder Allen is a certified public accountant and runs a collections agency. He has done much to help his son get his foot in the door of many places at such a young age. Allen and his bandmates are regular performers at the Rathskeller and Mouse Trap in Indianapolis, and regularly entertain at other regional spots, including the Sugar Creek Campground, Lew Wallace Inn and Crawfordsville Moose Lodge.

Allen and his sister, now an art major at Ball State University, always were encouraged by their father to pursue areas of interest they would love. Taking his own advice, the Allen patriarch is working to open his own recording studio on the family’s 100-acre farm in Reelsville. Named Big Walnut Studios, after the creek that runs through the area, it will be a state-of-the-art workspace with the latest in recording technology.

Like th - The Journal Review


The Max Allen Band delivers an exquisite blend of roots rock, jam and lyrical intelligence in this latest release.
Max Allen, with his mixture of soulful guitar, excellent voice and a penchant for entertaining, engaging lyrics has created an exciting release with “Ending Sun.” Joining him in the band is Shaan France on drums and vocals while Dace Robie and Ethan James contribute their talents on fretless bass guitar and bass guitar respectively. “Ending Sun” begins with the soulful, jubilant strains of “Three Little Words.” Featuring soothing, understated guitar and Allen's silky vocals, this song saunters along with smooth urgency, reminding me of the best of Ben Harper's work. The track skips along joyfully, full of vitality and energy as robust guitar highlights the later measures of the song. “Master Bedroom” is a playful number that blends tones and tenors of Jack Johnson with a dash of homespun Acoustic Syndicate before galloping home on energetic guitar. Although obvious comparisons might sometimes undercut the originality of a particular artist's work, I think these comparisons bear fruit on the first few tracks of this album. “Gridlock” is another light hearted number that skips along on the strength of airy guitar and fun vocals before venturing forth into more exploratory waters, spiced with methodical, yearning guitar. The song progresses into a nicely structured, mathematical jam steeped in the roots of southern rock and muscular guitar. “Know Your Rights” extols the listener to protect themselves from unfair police practices, utilizing a relaxed reggae groove and smooth, smoldering guitar.



“Me My Mo Ho” starts with Allen “scat” singing, before settling into a nice bluesy groove, punctuated by relaxed guitar. The lyrics for “Song for My Guitar” idealize the musician's guitar symbolically as a method for escape from the workaday world, and as a tool to help the musician keep his “nose clean.” The title track of the album is upbeat, lengthy and spiced with acoustic guitar and soulful lyrics. The track discusses the last days of a dying sun and the memories that writer entertains while watching an event of such magnitude. The track picks up tempo and gallops home on the strength of guitar, which is a characteristic that signifies the best tracks on this album. The album closes with a well-executed cover of 2Pac's “California Love” and hilarity ensues. After a spirited take on 2Pac's vocals, the song transitions into more atmospheric “jam” waters, complete with soulful guitar flourishes.



I have been on a modest sabbatical from Home Grown as of late, as the last year has given me a wealth of material to dissect and discuss, and I was needing time to recharge my writing faculties. I have reviewed an amazing assortment of discs in that time, but after taking this time off to find new modes of comparison and review, it is a pleasure to come across this album and the Max Allen Band. “Ending Sun” encompasses a lot of different moods, but the focus on intelligent, well-crooned lyrics and smoldering guitar prove to be quite effective. Max Allen is one of those Home Grown artists that has the potential for widespread “crossover” appeal, as these songs seem steeped in “tradition,” yet feel fresh and vital to the new listener as well.



- by J. Evan Wade
- J.Evan Wade - January 2010 - HGMN


This cool-funk guit/bass/drums trio from Indianapolis has put together 11 tracks of jammy goodness, complete with all the improvisatory musicianship needed to carry the hour-long disc. While retaining some of the jazziness of Phish and the groove of Dave Matthews Band, the Counting Crowes and Blues Traveler also come to mind. Sure to be a hit on college radio stations and outdoor festivals, MAB play their music with conviction and enough structure to keep the straights interested, but are free enough to warrant going to see what they bring to the material live. Go to http://www.maxallenmusic.com/. — Ryan Cunningham
- Recoil Magazine - January 2010


The Max Allen Band delivers an exquisite blend of roots rock, jam and lyrical intelligence in this latest release.
Max Allen, with his mixture of soulful guitar, excellent voice and a penchant for entertaining, engaging lyrics has created an exciting release with “Ending Sun.” Joining him in the band is Shaan France on drums and vocals while Dace Robie and Ethan James contribute their talents on fretless bass guitar and bass guitar respectively. “Ending Sun” begins with the soulful, jubilant strains of “Three Little Words.” Featuring soothing, understated guitar and Allen's silky vocals, this song saunters along with smooth urgency, reminding me of the best of Ben Harper's work. The track skips along joyfully, full of vitality and energy as robust guitar highlights the later measures of the song. “Master Bedroom” is a playful number that blends tones and tenors of Jack Johnson with a dash of homespun Acoustic Syndicate before galloping home on energetic guitar. Although obvious comparisons might sometimes undercut the originality of a particular artist's work, I think these comparisons bear fruit on the first few tracks of this album. “Gridlock” is another light hearted number that skips along on the strength of airy guitar and fun vocals before venturing forth into more exploratory waters, spiced with methodical, yearning guitar. The song progresses into a nicely structured, mathematical jam steeped in the roots of southern rock and muscular guitar. “Know Your Rights” extols the listener to protect themselves from unfair police practices, utilizing a relaxed reggae groove and smooth, smoldering guitar.



“Me My Mo Ho” starts with Allen “scat” singing, before settling into a nice bluesy groove, punctuated by relaxed guitar. The lyrics for “Song for My Guitar” idealize the musician's guitar symbolically as a method for escape from the workaday world, and as a tool to help the musician keep his “nose clean.” The title track of the album is upbeat, lengthy and spiced with acoustic guitar and soulful lyrics. The track discusses the last days of a dying sun and the memories that writer entertains while watching an event of such magnitude. The track picks up tempo and gallops home on the strength of guitar, which is a characteristic that signifies the best tracks on this album. The album closes with a well-executed cover of 2Pac's “California Love” and hilarity ensues. After a spirited take on 2Pac's vocals, the song transitions into more atmospheric “jam” waters, complete with soulful guitar flourishes.



I have been on a modest sabbatical from Home Grown as of late, as the last year has given me a wealth of material to dissect and discuss, and I was needing time to recharge my writing faculties. I have reviewed an amazing assortment of discs in that time, but after taking this time off to find new modes of comparison and review, it is a pleasure to come across this album and the Max Allen Band. “Ending Sun” encompasses a lot of different moods, but the focus on intelligent, well-crooned lyrics and smoldering guitar prove to be quite effective. Max Allen is one of those Home Grown artists that has the potential for widespread “crossover” appeal, as these songs seem steeped in “tradition,” yet feel fresh and vital to the new listener as well.



- by J. Evan Wade
- J.Evan Wade - January 2010 - HGMN


Discography

"No Way" - 2001 (Max Allen and the Jam Band)
"Mr. Big Man"- 2002 (Max Allen and the Jam Band)
"That's Why" - 2003 (Max Allen Band)
"Earthwalker" - 2006 (Max Allen Band)
"Uphill" - 2009 ( Acoustic Solo)
"Ending Sun" - 2009 (Max Allen Band)

Photos

Bio

The Max Allen Band (MAB) is a stunningly full sounding trio whose music can be described as a product of its environment over the last 25+ years. Multiple musical influences are molded (using extraordinary musicianship, a focus on intelligent lyrics and smoldering guitar work), into compositions that appeal to a very broad range of listeners. The band’s music is steeped in tradition but is also identifiably influenced by many different styles of music including Reggae, Rap, Funk, Rock, Blues and Jazz.

MAB delivers tight, well seasoned, high-energy performances to fans throughout the Midwest. They tour regularly and perform between 100-125 shows per year. Over the past nine years Allen and the MAB have had the privilege of performing on stage with and/or opening for a number of great musicians and bands, including Larry Crane (Mellencamp), Chris Duarte, Dishwalla, Lukas Nelson, The Marshall Tucker Band, Otiel Burbridge, Dickey Betts, The Spin Doctors, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Ekoostik Hookah, Dark Star Orchestra and Umphrey's McGee.

The Max Allen Band is a proud member of the Homegrown Music Network.