Festival preview: Max Jury at OnRoundhay, Leeds

Max Jury. Picture: Ashley Rommelrath
Max Jury. Picture: Ashley Rommelrath
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IOWA singer songwriter Max Jury released his eponymous debut album in June.

“The reaction so far has been better than I could have imagined,” he says. “It’s been nice to be able to get out on the road a little bit and to be able to play these songs with the band and see it full realised and watch people discover it.”

The record marries Jury’s taste for classic American songwriters from the 60s and 70s with modern production. “I grew up listening to those classic records and I think from a compositional perspective that’s where I feel most comfortable and that’s waht influenced me early on and kind of stuck with me,” says the 23-year-old, “but I listen and love all kinds of music, especially a lot of new artists, so I wanted to try to incorporate some of those newer and more modern elements in an attempt to make the record not sound like it was recorded in the early 70s.

“I didn’t necessarily want it to be a retro sounding record, whether I achieved that or not who knows but I did make an effort to modernise it in a way.”

The shades of blues and gospel in his songs go back a long way. “I sang in the church as a kid and gospel music was something that was kind of the foundation for me,” he says. “And a lot of those old blues artists like BB King is music that I listened to really early on and something that I really go back to time and time again. That kind of music is just in my bones. Up until this point I hadn’t really had the resources or the talent of the other musicians to make those sounds and those genres possible in my recordings but I was really fortunate to stumble across some really capable singers and musicians who were totally comfortable with that gospel feel and I really tried hard to incorporate that into the record because I thought it would give the songs a lift and maybe a different sense of hope than what they have when they’re played solo.”

As a songwriter, Jury describes himself thus: “I think of it as pop music, pretty much, but with a lot of different kind of influences thrown in there. There’s some country, there’s some soul, there’s some rock, some blues and gospel, but I think I appraoch it from a pop perspective.”

Max Jury. Picture: Ashley Rommelrath

Max Jury. Picture: Ashley Rommelrath

He believes it important that people can easily relate to the sentiments in his songs. “Subject-wise at least with this new record I’m not treading a lot of new ground, it’s pretty common, universal themes about either failling in love or losing love or growing up, the struggles and the joys that are attached to all of those things,” he says.

“I think it is important to connect with people in that way lyrically because when I listen to music my heroes, artists I really admire, their music spoke to me in a certain way and kind of helped me and guided me almost in a way through rough patches in my life. The biggest joy I guess for me as songwriter is to find out that people have had a similar experience with my songs.”

On September 17 Jury will play at OnRoundhay festival. Having played a memorable show in Leeds, at Brudenell Social Club earlier in the year, he says: “I’m excited to go back.”

For full line-up details and tickets for OnRoundhay CLICK HERE

The biggest joy I guess for me as songwriter is to find out that people have had a similar experience with my songs.

Max Jury

Max Jury

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