"Don't put baby in a corner," the late Patrick Swayze said to Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing. If I were in a similar movie, starring alongside Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven, I'd advise anyone around us at that dull Catskills resort to not put my man Max in any particular corner, either. Upon first look (and listen), you want to lump him with the rest of the alt-hippie-folksy guys like M. Ward and Sam Beam of Iron and Wine. Though the L.A.-based Ludwig could do a lullaby along with the others, he's got a lot more going on. Ludwig's voice ranges from a Heartbreaker-esque Ryan Adams ("Born Too Blue") to a mid-'70s Bowie ("Big Black Train") and a rootsy, honey-thick Some Girls-era Rolling Stones ("Paradise Cove"). His spectrum is so broad that every song makes you feel as though you've heard it before yet can't quite put your finger on when. What am I listening to, you wonder: rock, folk, Americana, plugged-in emo? This is a good thing. Though Maxim and the boys are familiar enough to make your ears comfy right away, you won't be bored for a second. A date at the Austin City Limits festival next month could very well get Maxim some major attention, so catch this frontman and his band at a club-size venue while you can.
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