Review: Maxim Ludwig & The Santa Fe Seven “This Round is on Me”

Maxim Ludwig and the Santa Fe Seven
This Round is on Me EP
By Gerry Gomez

Straight out of Silverlake, Maxim Ludwig and the Santa Fe Seven are so darn good. With their new EP, This Round is on Me,  five carefully crafted, perfectly executed, thoughtful songs, make up an effort that should put many other acts on notice, because this is a fine demonstration of how artists ought present themselves. With twenty-something, lead singer/songwriter Maxim Ernst Ludwig (really his legitimate name given to him at birth), This Round is On Me, proves this old soul is the real deal.

The only problem with this offering, is that five songs just aren’t enough. A solid production, each track is instantly great and hits the part in a person that compels one to put all five of the tunes on repeat. Ludwig is a master of hook and the band create song structures that keep each one moving, with lively choruses and instrumental interest. A few elements on their release are added from a live show line-up and are very welcome, most notably the organ and saxophone sounds make which make this EP a standout and fully realized attempt.

At heart, Maxim Ludwig is a foursome that’s really coalesced into an impressive unit, who appear to be the yin to each other’s yang: they are a hard working band who work diligently at their craft and no better is that fact reflected than on this EP.  Bassist Ben Reddell contributes flawless and emotive bass lines, along with spirited back up vocals in combination with pedal steel player and guitarist, Chris Vos who really rounds out the mix. Drums on the recordings were supplied by Travis Popichak. Ludwig, for his part, provides  guitar, vocals, piano, synth and harmonica.

Each song on This Round is strong on its own merits, but “Stacy, C’mon” has an infectious, easy to sing along refrain that one might find themselves humming for days. “Nothing At All,” on the other hand, is lyrically great and turns a nice phrase with comparisons throughout like, “Between you and nothing, I choose nothing at all” leading to another nice lyrical hook, “My heart is breaking, breaking,”  that kicks into gear with an old rock-n-roll type sax that would make Bruce Springsteen and the late Clarence Clemons smile.

“Bunker Hill” is an ode to the women on Bunker Hill, who bring Ludwig wine and give him time.  It is the song of a traveler who enjoys slumming with his female caretakers that hearkens up images of a modern day happy drunken vagabond. Still, at the end, there’s a little surprise: a nice churning rhythm that supports a plodding percussive piano and swirling organ to a swaggering effect, that proves it is a good thing Ludwig is on his pills.

“From the Alley View”, is a show closer that Maxim Ludwig use in their live sets and for good reason, as it kicks off with a spiritual, hymnal coda of sha-la-las. The “best jokes, laughs are always true and obscene,” says Maxim. The story follows our alley wanderer through an encounter and then there’s a fun repetition that instructs one to shake it to the left and right before the song comes to a humorous end, finding Ludwig proclaiming that his fortune-cookie says something in Chinese, but that he don’t read Chinese.

And that pretty much sums up the tale of the happy wanderer and this round on Maxim Ludwig and the Santa Fe Seven, which should find many asking, “next round please,” because they are simply, one of those acts that don’t come along every day.

Maxim Ludwig are playing around town a lot these days. They’ll be doing a residency at Echo every Tuesday all January with Olin and the Moon starting the 3rd.





One Comment

  1. Pingback: Sin City Spotlight: The Far West

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.