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The Blood

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iTunes Review

The course of Kevin Max’s post-dc Talk career has been a fascinating zigzag, taking him through a myriad of pop styles, and The Blood finds Max once again defying expectations. The album uses old hymns as a thematic touchstone, though these tracks range far beyond the traditional. Helping out are a bevy of notables, including Amy Grant, Ashley Cleveland, Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell and Joanne Cash (Johnny’s sister). Ultimately, though, Max is the main attraction, and he tackles the tunes with varying success. Gospel shout-alongs like “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” and “Up Above My Head I Hear Music in the Air” work convincingly well. Bluesy acoustic renderings of “The Old Rugged Cross” and “I Know His Blood Will Make Me Whole” sound a little contrived. “The Cross” reprises dc Talk’s modern rock thrust, while “They Won’t Go When I Go” takes Kevin into elegant R&B territory. Max’s mannered vocals — often adopting a rocker’s sass or a lounge singer’s croon — are a hit or miss affair. Ultimately, The Blood is in keeping with Max’s past work: provocative, sometimes erratic but imaginative overall.

Customer Reviews

Kevin Max trusted his instincts on this project!

Organic and Digital partner up for a sound that is sure to be an instant classic for Kevin Max fans & for lovers of good ole Gospel music. I love how Kevin sets the tone of this album by the listener hearing what sounds like the stylus of a 70's, 80's turntable, being delicately set on Johnny Cash's 1975 release "SINGS PRECIOUS MEMORIES." Kevin's rendition of "The Old Rugged Cross" would have, in my opinion, made "The Man in Black" very proud. "The Old Rugged Cross" is like watching early color TV, bringing us into the HDTV age with "The Cross." Friends, Michael Tait & tobyMac reunite with Kevin. . . definitely showing that the sound of DC Talk is here. I thought I was listening to a track from the "Supernatural" album for a moment. With the exception of Johnny Cash, don't expect these songs to sound like some you have heard in the past, i.e. "Run On for A Long Time." You won't find Moby here. This album is Kevin Max all the way. I personally love the layering of Kevin's vocals on the haunting "Trouble of the World" or Stevie's "They Won't Go When I Go." These songs take me back to Lana Turner's "Imitation of Life" where her maid, Annie, is talking about going home to "glory," with the white horses escorting her there. "The Blood Will Never Lose Its' Power" is church!! Y'hear what I'm sayin!!' With the choir, Ashley Cleveland, Judson Spence, Kim Keys & Kevin leadin the way. Kevin has surrounded himself with the best of the best. As well as the guest artists here, this is a who's who of musicians. . . William Owsley (Amy Grant, Brent Bourgeois), John Fields (Pink, Backstreet Boys, Mandy Moore), Bobby Huff (Tim Finn of the Split Enz, Casting Crowns, Lee Ann Womack), Byron "Wookie" Landham (Lee Ritenour, Joey DeFrancesco), John Painter (Kevin Max, DC Talk), the great Phil Madeira. The album begins with paying tribute to the Great Johnny Cash and ends with him, as Kevin shares his love of the Great man with Johnny's sister Miss Joanne Cash in "One Way-One Blood." The listener will not be disappointed by the trip Kevin takes us on. "Blood is intentionally meant to take you on a journey......there is alot of genre skipping to be sure." KM

the BLOOD Kevin Max

Been listening to Kevin's Holy Night to get the Holyday Spirit going for the last week or so and as soon as I heard this new cd was available so was I. The Old Rugged Cross is a great way to get this effort going with an earthy country church sound, then you get a great DC Talk reunion song, a fantastic hit sound with Chris Sligh, a version of Trouble of the World as haunting as Mahalia's, a bluesy I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole, a nice little collabration with the Gill's, a super little redo of Stevie Wonders They Won't go When I Go, a soul-warming spirit-stirring The Blood Will Never Lose It's Power, then the best version of People Get Ready since Jeff Beck and Rod Stewart, and it's just a shame Joanne's brother Johnny couldn't join it on the last song. This is one of favorite CHRISTmas presents so far and I thank Kevin for it muchly. Happy Holydays to all and a wonderful New Year!

Receive the Blood

Kevin Max is undoubtedly one of the most enigmatic artists the Contemporary Christian music genre has ever produced. So enigmatic in fact that it’s virtually impossible to find a single blurb or review about him that doesn’t include the word ‘enigmatic.’ (Try it, good luck.) With this said, his latest album, The Blood, may at first appear a welcome return to Christian radio. The album consists of deep blues, old gospel, and a hint of hillbilly rock n roll. It features many Gospel spirituals and even a reunited dc talk on ‘The Cross’. Perhaps the most marketable of the songs, (besides the Cross for obvious reasons) is‘People Get Ready,’ featuring Erica Campbell of Mary Mary, is effortlessly smooth, uplifting, and will no doubt see serious airtime on Christian radio. Upon closer examination however, the album represents something more. For what Max has achieved in his latest offering is no less than a foundational step towards maturity both in his art and life as a musician. His message to tell has often been to be yourself and in no doubt he is and is now just sharing what he’s always been. Yes friends, it seems he has finally found a way to deeply embrace mainstream Christianity while at the same time remaining an outsider. The key to this? His focus on perhaps the only thing both parties have always had in common, Jesus. –And more specifically the blood of Jesus. It is impossible to overestimate the resonance the topic of the blood of Christ has on a believer at a very personal level. I’ve been aware of Kevin Max from you might say the very beginning. (I first saw dc talk play a small church gig pre-Nu Thang) I have always been an admirer and related on some level. As a pastor’s kid I’ve been raised with such expectations from the church and people on how I should be living my life. A very small platform compared to K.., but still a platform. It gets very tiring and exhausting and still does. You end up being fake with people and never show the authentic self. When Kevin Max ventured into his solo career many people were taken back at his “un-Christian” sound, but for me it was awe inspiring. I’ll admit at first I didn’t even know how to handle it, but little did I realize it was the first step in my growing and changing as a human. His music inspired me to take that leap into the realness of who I was, who God created me to be and start asking questions. This realness of his “un Christian’ sound made the deeper impact on my life than any of the mainstream Christian Artists. It’s important to bring this up when speaking about Kevin max because, for my generation he represents the dichotomy between old and new, fake and reality. Max lies between innocence and innocence lost. The change into maturity. That is why this project The Blood is important. It represents at least in its beginning stages, the permanent move of Kevin max back into the mainstream. It’s a rare move where both he and the Christian culture are seemingly beginning to converge once again. So for those dc talk fans who will inevitably be wanting a reunion, I say no. Why go backward when Kevin has evolved so far ahead? Everyone needs to make a special time to sit back, listen to the BLOOD, and admire this tremendous talent. A talent forged through the difficult and often muddy waters of genuine Christian maturation.


Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '00s

Often perceived as the eccentric, attention-seeking member of the CCM trio DC Talk, Kevin Max grew up outside of Grand Rapids, MI. Formerly known as Kevin Smith, music played a vital part in his formative years. Max started singing at the age of four and remembers "being carted around to schools, churches, and radio programs." He attended college at Virginia's Liberty University, where he met fellow DC Talk members Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait. The three formed the band in 1987, merging the styles...
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