Max Stalling, Sister C

Max Stalling

Texas based songwriter, Max Stalling, had no expectation of ever being in the music business. “I didn’t even pick up a guitar until graduate school,” notes Stalling. After attending high school in South Texas, Stalling studied at Texas A&M - College Station, where he earned a masters degree in Food Science. He followed the corporate road from there and eventually landed in Dallas working in product development for Frito-Lay.

During this time, Stalling discovered the Three Teardrops Tavern and Dallas community radio station KNON. These outlets exposed a musical heritage to which Stalling had been nearly oblivious. Inspired by artists like Townes Van Zandt, Robert Earl Keen, Guy Clark, Lyle Lovett, and Jerry Jeff Walker, Stalling started writing songs, recording albums, and eventually touring with a full band to back him. In June 2008, Stalling joined musical greats Kris Kristofferson, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees, Selena, Guy Clark and many others when he received a star on the South Texas Music Walk of Fame in Corpus Christi.

Stalling's style is modern with a vintage feel. With Jeff Howe on drums and percussion, Bryce Clarke on nylon-string guitar, electric guitar and mandolin, and Jason Steinsultz swapping between stand-up and electric bass, Stalling creates a dynamic live show that’s smart, charming and as listenable as it is danceable. Stalling and troupe are equally at home on a huge concert stage in front of thousands or playing an acoustic set for a hundred. Attendance numbers at shows have continued to rise. “I chalk it up to the strength of the songs and the strength of my band”, comments Max.

Despite playing the same circuit as many household names in Texas country, grouping Stalling with them would be premature. His unique voice and amusingly clever song lyrics pull him in a different direction - a direction most obviously evident in his newest record Home to You.

Stalling has put together an elite team for his newest project, including recording heavyweight and Grammy winner Lloyd Maines. Maines has been instrumental in developing the sounds of some of the best artists in music and has worked with industry giants including the Dixie Chicks, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Bruce Robison. Band members Steinsultz, Howe and Clark are featured prominently on the recordings as well as Stalling’s wife Heather. “I’m very proud of the life that everyone has given these songs,” says Max. “They poured their hearts and souls into this project and I think people will be wowed by what they can do.”

Home to You may be the best and most well rounded collection of songs that Stalling has released to date. The opening track is an unexpected tune borrowed from Austin music fixture Bob Schneider, which Stalling makes his own by staying true to his rootsy, Americana vibe which is evident throughout the entire album. Next, we hear fan favorite “I Aint Drinking Alone” and a surprising revisited version of a previous Stalling track. With songs about love, love lost, and the road, the album is a perfect candidate for the repeat button on any music player. The collection wraps up with, “The Fantasy Dinner,” which is a light-hearted, story song that captures Stalling’s creative mind in a way that will keep the listener intrigued and singing along by the second chorus. Matched with master musicianship and production, this album will keep your foot tapping, heart pounding, and dancing shoes worn.

Home to You will be available August 17, 2010, following four previous studio projects (Topaz City, 2008; Comfort In the Curves, 1997; Wide Afternoon, 2000; One of the Ways, 2002) and two live releases (Sell-Out, 2006; Live From The Granada CD/DVD 2009). Home to You is being self-released on the Blind Nello Records label.

It's not unusual to hear female vocalists say they have been influenced musically by Etta James and Billie Holiday … it's also safe to say that it's not unusual to hear female vocalists say they have been influenced by such legends as Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. It is, however, unusual when those female vocalists are as young as Cirby, Carli and Celbi Manchaca, the three sisters who are Sister C. But they are not your “usual” female vocalists. Although they have also been influenced and inspired by current stars like Norah Jones, Corrine Bailey Rae, Ingrid Michaelson, Sara Bareilles, Adele and singer/songwriters like Toni Price, Patti Griffin and Kelly Willis, these sisters grew up in a household where recordings by Willie, Merle and George (both Jones AND Strait) were often followed with recordings by Ray Charles, Patsy Cline and Harry Connick, Jr., with a healthy seasoning of blues, jazz and zydeco sprinkled in. That interesting mix of music genres and vocal styles is evident in the girls’ song choices for both performing and recording – classic rock to traditional country, sultry blues to contemporary pop, it’s all there and they are surprisingly comfortable with all of them.
Also evident is the influence of family and a hometown full of lifelong friends. Growing up in a relatively small Texas town in a family that hits the ground running every day, whether hunting, mudding, riding horses, fishing, dancing, playing basketball or singing, the girls were always somewhere in the mix with one or both their parents – and a slew of friends and extended family – not far away. Cirby, Carli and Celbi all agree: "We don't have to look any further than our own home to find all the support we need for whatever we try to do. We know we can count on our family to be there for us and we can turn to our parents for anything - they are our heroes and our biggest fans. We realize how lucky we are to have a loving family to come home to and a bunch of amazing friends to hang out with. Not everyone is that fortunate and we are grateful every day." All three girls have lofty goals in life, not all of which are music related but where music is concerned their goal is clear. In Cirby’s words: "I believe that when we hear a song that touches us, it probably also touches other people. That's what we want to do – find or write and record a song that other people will hear us sing and maybe it would follow them around for a while. That would be awesome." Awesome, indeed.

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