Texas based songwriter, Max Stalling, had no expectation of ever being in the music business. “I didn’t even pick up a guitar until graduate school,” notes Stalling. After attending high school in South Texas, Stalling studied at Texas A&M - College Station, where he earned a masters degree in Food Science. He followed the corporate road from there and eventually landed in Dallas working in product development for Frito-Lay.
During this time, Stalling discovered the Three Teardrops Tavern and Dallas community radio station KNON. These outlets exposed a musical heritage to which Stalling had been nearly oblivious. Inspired by artists like Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, and Jerry Jeff Walker, Stalling started writing songs, recording albums, and eventually touring with a full band to back him. Fifty thousand CDs later, Stalling joined musical greats Kris Kristofferson, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, Selena, Guy Clark and many others when he received a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi. Stalling plays about 150 shows a year and is in the third year of a Budweiser sponsorship. He is a former member of the Board of Governors for the Texas Chapter of NARAS and has been lucky enough to share the stage with most of the artists that inspired him to start writing in the first place.
Stalling's style is modern with a vintage feel. With Jeff Howe on drums and percussion, Bryce Clarke on nylon-string guitar, electric guitar and mandolin, and Jason Steinsultz swapping between stand-up and electric bass, Stalling creates a dynamic live show that’s smart, charming and as listenable as it is danceable. Stalling and troupe are equally at home on a huge concert stage in front of thousands or playing an acoustic set for a hundred. Attendance numbers at shows have continued to rise. “I chalk it up to the strength of the songs and the strength of my band”, comments Max.
Despite playing the same circuit as many household names in Texas country, grouping Stalling with them would be premature. His unique voice and amusingly clever song lyrics pull him in a different direction - a direction most obviously evident in his newest record Home to You.
Stalling put together an elite team for his newest project, including recording heavyweight and Grammy winner Lloyd Maines. Maines has been instrumental in developing the sounds of some of the best artists in music and has worked with industry giants including the Dixie Chicks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Bruce Robison. Band members Steinsultz, Howe and Clark are featured prominently on the recordings as well as Stalling’s wife Heather. “I’m very proud of the life that everyone has given these songs,” says Max. “They poured their hearts and souls into this project and I think people will be wowed by what they can do.”
Home to You may be the best and most well rounded collection of songs that Stalling has released to date. It has earned Stalling both a Best Album and a Best Male Vocal nomination for the 2011 LonestarMusic Awards. It has been on the top seller list at lonestarmusic.com since its release and the first single “I Aint Drinking Alone” was #14 on the Radio Free Texas 100 Most Requested Songs of 2010 list. The opening track is an unexpected tune borrowed from Austin music fixture Bob Schneider. Stalling makes the tune his own by staying true to his rootsy, Americana vibe which is evident throughout the entire album. Next, we hear fan favorite “I Aint Drinking Alone” and a surprising revisited version of a previous Stalling track. With songs about love, love lost, and the road, the album is a perfect candidate for the repeat button on any music player. The collection wraps up with, “The Fantasy Dinner,” which is a light-hearted, story song that captures Stalling’s creative mind in a way that will keep the listener intrigued and singing along by the second chorus. Matched with master musicianship and production, this album will keep your foot tapping, heart pounding, and dancing shoes worn.
Home to You was released August 17, 2010, following four previous studio projects (Topaz City, 2008; Comfort In the Curves, 1997; Wide Afternoon, 2000; One of the Ways, 2002) and two live releases (Sell-Out, 2006; Live From The Granada CD/DVD 2009). Home to You was self-released on the Blind Nello Records label.
Hendrix’s love of music and writing can be traced all the way back to early childhood in her native San Antonio (and Panama, where her sergeant major father was stationed during her first few years of grade school). “When I was a kid, I often found escape in books and writing short stories,” she recalls. “I wrote so often, that my Mom said she could find me by following my ‘paper trail.’ Then I stole my sister’s guitar, and once I began to write songs, the paper trail grew longer.”
She sang in choir all through high school, earning a scholarship to study voice at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. In another universe, she might have been an opera singer; but her future in classical music was not to be. “Instead of taking notes, I wrote lyrics all over my music theory notebooks,” she explains. She eventually transferred to Southwest Texas State in San Marcos, the hippie-friendly college town halfway between San Antonio and Austin that she still calls home. But she wasn’t long for school there, either; instead, she found the most important mentor of her life in classical musician, teacher and organic farmer Marion Williamson. In exchange for farmhand duties (including milking goats, which explains the mascot Hendrix later adopted for her label), Williamson taught her not only the finer points of Mississippi John Hurt-style guitar picking, but how to book gigs and set up her own PA system. Williamson’s sudden death, which came shortly after the release of “Two Dollar Shoes,” was devastating to Hendrix; but the invaluable education she received from her friend continues to guide her through both her life and career.
It was shortly after Williamson’s passing that Hendrix began working with producer/guitarist Maines. Their first record together, “Wilory Farm,” sparked significant airplay and tour dates well outside of Texas, and Hendrix’s career has only moved from strength to strength ever since. In addition to winning several regional awards in her native San Antonio and Austin Austin (including “Best Singer-Songwriter,” “Best Folk Act,” and “Best New Band”), her recordings and concerts have netted her critical raves from such publications as Mojo, Texas Monthly, the Boston Herald, Washington Post, Billboard, Harp, Texas Music Magazine, and USA Today. She’s also had a bona fide Satellite radio hit (“Nerves,” off of her 2005 children’s album “Celebrate the Difference”), co-written a Grammy-winning song (the instrumental “Lil’ Jack Slade” on the Dixie Chicks’ multi-platinum “Home” album), and shared disc-space with many of the biggest names in Americana through her cover of “The Dark” on the Grammy nominated “This One’s for Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark.” And coincidentally, like Clark — along with such other Lone Star legends as Kris Kristofferson and Doug Sahm — Hendrix even has her own star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi.
Few people are as important to the development of Texas music over the last 30 years as Lloyd Maines. As a Grammy award-winning producer and musician, the Lubbock-born Maines has played an instrumental role in the creation of some of the Lone Star State's most famous and beloved albums. Maines began his recording and producing career in 1974. Over the past 40 years, Maines has worked on approximately four-thousand albums alongside some of the most significant figures in country, rock, and Texas music. In addition to his producing credits, Maines is an A-list steel guitar player and multi-instrumentalist. His work has been heard on countless recordings. Maines has been inducted into the Buddy Holly Walk of Fame in Lubbock, Texas, individually and as a member of the Maines Brother's Band. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame June 2014. He has made more appearances on the PBS show than anyone else in the history of the program.