30 March 2015

The wicked path of sin from Blue Maxx

Bluegrass fans in Ireland already know Jan Michielsen well as guitarist and singer with 4 Wheel Drive (NL/D/B), who were last in Ireland at the 2014 Omagh festival and will be back this July as headliners at the Athy Bluegrass Festival.

Jan, who has been a mainstay of the bluegrass scene in Belgium for decades, also plays mandolin and sings with Blue Maxx, whose other members are Luc Van Peteghem (bass, vocals), Marc Holsteyn (guitar, vocals), Dieter Van Peteghem (banjo, vocals), and Stefaan van Laethem (fiddle, vocals).

They now have a new CD, The wicked path of sin - twelve tracks of high-class contemporary bluegrass with a solid base in the classics (as shown in the two Bill Monroe compositions); an inspired choice of material by other songwriters including Bruce Springsteen and J.C. Fogerty; good, tight harmony singing; and good picking throughout, notably on Holsteyn's fine original instrumental, 'Can't remember'. Sound quality and visual design are both very pleasing.

On St Valentine's day Blue Maxx launched the CD in Jan's home town of Hoogstraten, near the Dutch border. Images from the event, taken by Cheap Aldi Camera Productions, can be seen on their Facebook, with audio clips from the album.

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