In March 2021, Max Allard launched a series on his Patreon page called March Maxness, in which he wrote and recorded a new piece of music every day for the entire month. He recorded the pieces at home (or on the road when that was the case), and played all of the instruments himself, aside from a few guest appearances.
March Maxness was originally created exclusively for Max’s patrons, with plans to select a handful of pieces to develop further. But once it was complete, Max realized that part of the magic of it was the immediacy of the daily home recordings and the feeling they created as a whole. Now, almost two years later, he wants to share this time capsule with a wider audience.
It's an unpredictable mix of banjo, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, harmonium, mandolin, and features the occasional xylophone, drum brush, maraca, slide whistle or wine glass.
Admittedly, 31 tracks are a lot of tracks. Try Day 3 for an energetic banjo tune with an unexpected turn on the harmonium, and featuring Otto Allard on the mandolin. Day 19 includes the only trombone feature on the album (with Noah Allard lending his trombone chops, and Otto on mandolin). Day 27 captures the feelings of joy and exploration on this project. That one is all Max, layering tracks of banjos, guitars and bass.
The track by track listing includes Max’s notes from each day’s recording and sharing of the pieces and tell the story of the project.
Max is currently in his second year studying Composition at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, but he was born and raised in Chicago. He is the winner of the 2018 Rockygrass Banjo Competition, the 2019 FreshGrass Banjo Award and was the inaugural recipient of the J.D. Crowe Scholarship from the IBMA Foundation. He has always been interested in harmony, and he brings to his compositions the influences of many genres, cultures and styles.
Max Allard has been composing and learning music for as long as he can remember: figuring out tunes on his toy instruments, or making music from half filled water glasses or pots and pans. After many years of asking for a piano, he finally got one at the age of six. But Max vividly remembers picking up the banjo at eleven and the guitar a few years later. He has always been interested in harmony, and he brings the influences of many genres, cultures and styles of music to his compositions. Max plays an unclassifiable mix of bluegrass, jazz, new acoustic, classical and pop.
Max released his debut solo record Odes / Codes in January 2022. It is made up of material that he wrote in 2020 and reflects the contemplative feeling of that year, capturing moods of melancholy, nostalgia, longing, and hopefulness. It’s is an example of a new way of thinking for the banjo and how it fits in non bluegrass music.