Maine singer-songwriter, Max Garcia Conover, is a man who loves nature and expresses it through very imaginative song lyrics. His songs are like reveries of John Muir, Walt Whitman or Henry David Thoreau. He sees nature with a full heart, and expresses that love in song.
Even one of the CD titles, Birches Lo, makes me think of biblical days when a prophet would urge the people to harken to him – "Behold! Lo!" Or, in woodsman speech, "Looky thar!" It's an enthusiastic reference, urging people to see beyond seeing.
Max's guitar fingerpicking technique is very bright and clear and his voice is as unabashed as a bird. The songs sound like they pop into his head and he begins to play them simultaneously – almost the way a bard or minstrel might have spontaneously sung about an event while it was taking place in real time.
I found I had to get into Max's musical style. Sometimes his voice wanders off the path a little, and there are places where his guitar playing gets a bit repetitious, but there is something very likeable about what he expresses. I feel love in it. I sense sincerity. He seems like the kind of guy that you could ask to write a song about your puppy and he would write about it on the spot, exactly as it impressed him.
Some songwriters fall into the trap of trite, predictable lyrics or musical hooks that drive the song. Max does neither. His lyrics stand on their own as poetry. His musical style is unhewn but has promise, and most of all, he is full of real passion and I think that is what defines a true folk musician.
Here are some samples of his lyrics. The songs are from his two CDs. I've listed the song titles with lyric excerpts:
From Birches Lo:
I will run to marshes.
Sink my feet into the ground
until the grass tickles my chin.
I will let the sun turn my hair red.
I will let the leeches have their fill
and call them my brethren
I will leave this place unchanged.
I will hear the birds singing and finally understand what they mean.
“The Creek Woman Poet”
Woman won't you sing a song, take my hand,
lead me past the rosebush and barbed wire.
Show me what you're workin' on.
Tell me in my heart there's a light among the liars.
“Spiral Through the Wheat"
So the grass turned into trees
And the spiral to hallways
With ceilings of sapling leaves
spiderwebs as picture frames.
“Among the White Birches”
I don't want to come or go
Said the runner to the road
And he turned toward the white birch grove
The dew capped weeds were tongues on his toes.
From the self-titled CD, Max Garcia Conover:
“In City Light”
finding open spaces in the crowd
“As Much A Rising Sun As A Setting One”
Took a dying house, took a dying house,
to lean its way into the lake
while the heron bends and the heron waits
and lake weeds grow from the muck to the sky
and time and time and time.
So every time they go I stay behind.
I don't want to say the sun burns for me
but I see, I see, I see.
Everything she falls on I believe…
The following quote is from Max's discography notes:
“All profits from the CD, Birches Lo, go to Chewonki, a Maine non-profit that offers a range of programs designed to foster an appreciation for the natural world and for working in community with others.”
One thing I can say about Max is that he has an unflagging enthusiasm, apparent in the fount of creative efforts he is making. Many blessings to him on his journey! Check out Max's website at: www.maxgarciaconover.com.