Music Q&A: James Mark Maxey
Q: Who are the members of your band? Any new ones?
A: James Mark Maxey, and I have different folks playing with me at any given time ... I refer to them as Steel Sharpens Steel.
I play solo often using my performance tracks from my album. Some of the folks who played on my album were out of Reba McEntire's band.
Q: What is your latest project?
A: An album called "Damascus Road Experience" recorded in Mustang, Okla., with Tate Music Group, produced by Don Johnson.
Q: Tell me about your next performance.
A: I'm playing at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 at Abundant Market in downtown Tuscola. More information can be found on my Facebook page.
Q: How did you first grow interested in music? Does your family have a musical history?
A: I became interested in music at an early age of probably 4 or 5 years old (1964). My dad gave me an old AM radio that I listened to until I fell asleep every night. I fell asleep to music for many years. In 1968 at the age of 8, I got my first Slingerland drum and learned to hit the skins a bit. Then in 1970 I got my first guitar and have been strumming the guitar ever since.
I've since learned a basic piano playing style as well as mandolin, harmonica and bass guitar.
There were no real musicians in my family other than everyone could always sing pretty well. My Grandpa Maxey knew some riffs on the piano which always intrigued me.
Q: Which bands did you like when you were a teenager?
A: Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, Kiss, Cheap Trick, Hank Williams Jr., Alvin Lee, Joe Cocker, Kris Kristofferson, J.D. Sumner and the Stamps.
Q: Which bands now?
A: Rich Mullens, Desperation Band, Third Day, Toby Mac, Newsboys and Three Hour Tour.
Q: Who has influenced you the most?
A: Dylan, Kristofferson and Rich Mullens.
Q: Do you have a favorite instrument?
A: My Gibson Kristofferson SJ acoustic guitar.
Q: What kind of amplifiers do you prefer?
Q: How did your band get started? Where does the name come from?
A: I started writing my style of Christian folk rock in 1991. I had always loved Proverbs 27:17 and used it in naming the ministry/band.
I played in church service praise bands for almost two decades and then decided to get a bit more serious with my own music and put it out there for people to hear. It's truly a ministry.
Q: How often do you play? How do you balance this with work and family?
A: I play almost every day to some extent. I take on gigs as they present themselves. It will probably pick up since the album is coming out.
I try to balance work and family. I have an excellent job that allowed me some freedom to get away and record an album. My boys are all grown and out of the house so my wife Pam and I are "empty nesters." Pam is my biggest fan and supporter.
Q: Do you write your own songs?Tell us about that experience.
A: I write all my material. Sometimes the words come first ... most times a melody or progression will, and then I allow God's spirit to move me and cause me to want to write on a topic concerning the Lord, and it all works out.
Q: Is touring still fun or has it become a chore?
A: Touring? I wish I could go on a tour once in my life! I'm playing gigs close to home throughout the year right now and after a full schedule over a month or so, I'm ready to take a siesta!
Q: What's your favorite song? What's your favorite song by your own band?
A: I would say "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd and "Creed" by Mullens. I like a lot of songs.
My songs are all my faves. But if I had to choose just one, I just wrote a song called "All I Want" that I just love. But the latest is always my most favorite until I write the next one.
Q: Do you feel a special connection with the audience?
A: Yes. Jesus connects people in a very special way.
Q: What's your favorite clothing item for performance?
A: I gotta have a hip shirt and pair of jeans and some cool shoes. The shirt has to be happening!