Album Review: Max Stalling "Home To You"

There's a good reason Dallas-based Max Stalling is considered a pioneer of the Texas country movement: Stalling's music is as comfortable and familiar as your favorite easy chair. And the singer-songwriter's new album "Home To You" is the best recording of his career.
Upon first listen, Stalling's folksy and familiar songs appear completely simple and pure. However, further listens uncover hidden depths in the lyrics that showcase a thinking man. Indeed, Max Stalling has undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas A&M to prove it.

The album, produced by Texas music legend Lloyd Maines, begins with the terrific and laid-back "Long Way To Get." The vocals are country music perfection, and Stalling offers a confident and reassuring vocal performance. "Have I Ever Told You" deserves to be a Number One radio chart single for Max Stalling, and Red Dirt radio should eat this track up like caramel apples at the county fair.

"I Ain't Drinking Alone" is a classic honky-tonk cut, and "6 x 9 Speakers - Revisited" revs up the country rock quotient. Stalling channels his inner Merle Haggard in this classic country party song that references Van Halen and Eddie Money.

However, Stalling doesn't hide his tender side like some country bad boys. "I've Got Something" is a deeply personal track that penetrates the soul, and the title track "Home To You" is a reflective musical masterwork reminiscent of the best country music stars of years gone by.

The second half of the album begins with a pure country cut "All I Ever Wanted To Do." But the biggest surprise on the album is the good-natured fun of the upbeat "Crazy Like That." Concert audiences will go "crazy" for it.

The uniquely titled "Saddest Song Ever" is a strong effort, but it is the Glen Campbell-esque track "I Could Be Wrong" that perfectly highlights Stalling's considerable vocal talent. However,  the best song on the entire album is "Fantasy Dinner." The inventive lyrics of the story in song will tickle the fancy of any true Red Dirt fan and may also win Max Stalling some new fans along the way.

Max Stalling knows how to write and deliver quality Texas country music in an appealing package that makes his fans laugh, cry and ponder the realms of humanity. "Home To You" is such an exceptional album that the only valid criticism to be found is the front cover art, which shows a close-up of the back of the musician's head. Our solution: Take out the cover insert and turn it around to reveal the cool picture of Max Stalling and the band. Then, toss it in the cab of your truck and play it while driving down the highway. It might just be the best 45 minutes of your life.