Maxwell Hughes

The growl and purr of motorcycle engines. The patter of rain on a tin roof. The twinkle of chimes on a porch in February. The steady, insistent thrum of heartbeats. Maxwell Hughes' playing evokes all of this, and much more. At a time when too many musicians treat their instruments as simple props, he's a total original (and maybe a freedom fighter, too): an artist determined to explore the entire expressive latitude of his acoustic guitar, and to coax as many different sounds and moods from it as he can. In his hands, the guitar is a magic wand, a lightning rod, a stick to conjure the storm.

It was the chase for that distinctive, personal sound that compelled Hughes to leave the Lumineers -- and he's never looked back since.  Under his own name, he's put out three collections of his distinctive songwriting -- and a fourth is on the way. He's been busy with other projects, too: his guitar and bass are the bedrock of Edison's acclaimed album Familiar Spirit. And in 2013, he was officially sponsored by Larrivee, the company that manufactures the acoustic guitars he plays. They know what the rest of the country is finding out: there's no better advertisement for guitars, and musicianship, and artistic innovation than the music that Maxwell Hughes has already made. As for the music he's going to make next?, well, watch out.