In October, Max Norton checked playing Brooklyn's Barclays Center off of his list of things to do (it was for Jay-Z's Tidal X concert, no less). In 2015, the drummer/mandolin player for Tampa's own Benjamin Booker also toured the globe, took some great photos, and started working on a solo LP, which he'll tease on December 27 at a homecoming show in Seminole Heights.
"[The songs are] all stories that I've witnessed or experienced from the road," Norton, 26, told CL in an email. "They might be about relationships I tried to keep going, trips to the desert, missing home (whatever that is anymore), or strangers I've met and needed to tell their story." He's been demoing the songs and sharing them with friends who've thrown nice feedback at him, and next month he plans to join Nashville's Mindy Watts (Third Man Records, ICP) at her Nashville studio to start getting them on tape.
"We've talked about getting weird reverbs and psychedelic noises from the old house that the studio is in," he added. "I'm into capturing ghosts and she is, too. I've always wanted to combine outlaw country with '60s folk music."
Most of the material for his still-untitled release were written over the past year and a half during a heavy touring period with Benjamin Booker. Norton says he'd collect pieces of the songs on rowdy bus rides and then "literally come back to Nashville for a few days in between a US or Europe tour and write down everything I could remember and the melodies I had in my head." He fleshed them out with guitar, organ, or mandolin, then threw lyrics in before letting it marinate for a day.
"I'm a drummer, but I love to write and tell stories," he said, "so this is the only way I know how." He has no hard dates on when the effort will see the world, but he says he'll definitely be out shortly after recording it. And what about his other bandmates Booker and bassist Alex Spoto?
"They other dudes are just great. We're all excited to be off the road for a bit and working on new stuff," Norton said. "We'll be recording the new record next year and then doing the whole 'touring it for a year a half thing' again — I can't imagine playing drums with more solid guys."
Stare into the eyes of this wolf below and hear Norton's new song "Hold Me Up." Go further down the wormhole via Soundcloud, and get more information about the December 27 show at Independent (5016 N. Florida Ave., Tampa) via Facebook. Follow his exploits at his blog.