Listening to Max Roest’s debut album Tonewood, I get the feeling I’m listening to a true student of the acoustic guitar. Somebody who has analyzed and studied all the greats and added their ideas and techniques to his toolbox. I hear McKee, Ross Emmanuel, Hedges and others, but undoubtedly there’s also a unique voice bubbling to the surface.
“Augiluo” starts things off, an uptempo number with a strong groove that reminds me of Andy McKee’s music. Right off the bat I have to commend Max for his clean and precise technique. He puts it to good use on “The J2 Effect” as well, a lovely tune with some gorgeous harmonic passages.
“War Trumpet” takes us into Don Ross territory, another uptempo song with an extremely catchy melody. There’s also rock-ish riff that had my head bobbing every time it came around, reminding me a bit of a part from Michael Hedges’ “Layover”.
My favorite track though, was “Tyche’s Escape”, which alternates between a powerful riff and wonderful melodic passages:
Overall, this is a very strong debut album with great compositions that flow gracefully. And Max’s excellent technique is full of fine details which fill the songs with texture. The production also helps bring these out. It’s worth noting that Max recorded and mixed the album himself.
While his influences are still very apparent, this in no way detracts from the album as a whole. It’s very clear that there’s a voice developing here. I’ll definitely be looking forward to what Max has in store for the future.