Max Ater – Small Town

At the age of 25, singer/songwriter Max Ater seems to have conquered his home state of Maine. Back in 2012 he dominated “Maine’s got Talent!” with an original song, and after some touring released his first EP Up ’till Now. More rave reviews and awards followed.

Now it seems Max is ready to cast his net further, as he prepares to release his new EP, Small Town (Prudential Records). Ater’s songwriting is solid and concise, and the arrangements are pop perfection. This may be due in part to the exemplary production of Karl Anderson. Max deftly combines modern, slick pop sensibility with the story telling approach of country. The out-of-the-gate favorite here is “Easy”. Max has a way of melding expected pop lyrics “Turn the radio up, let your hair down…” with those that express a consciousness of a bigger picture “…this ain’t love, this is right now”.

The sound is crisp and the playing is superb in a minimalist/pop fashion. Ater and Anderson were wise to enlist the talents of aces like drummer Jason Hartless and bassist Greg Smith. Songs on this release such as “Stay a Little Longer”, and “Light Up This Town” have me envisioning this young man at the top of the charts soon. Very soon.

I will leave you with a brief summary which both describes this EP, and gives it my praise:

Fans of new country will never think they are listening to a synth pop record, and for fans of glossy pop, it won’t occur to them they are enjoying country music. Both groups will just sing along and love it. That’s what music is supposed to do.

Written by Peter Harris