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Stagecoach 2009: Maxim Ludwig channels the Americana masters

April 25, 2009 |  3:58 pm

Backstage at Stagecoach:

Ludwig__ Just 20 years old, New York-born Maxim Ludwig channeled some impressively iconic Americana influences -- predominantly Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers and the Band -- during an electrifying early set here at Stagecoach today.

His band, the Santa Fe Seven, was playing what was only its fourth gig ever since Ludwig and some members migrated west to settle in L.A. while working on an album due to be posted on iTunes in May.

Ludwig, looking like the bearded offspring of the band’s drummer-vocalist Levon Helm, was a compellingly amped-up front man, moving from electric and acoustic guitars to electric piano. His singing was impassioned to the point of desperation in Ludwig's songs, often built around characters and situations that feel, as he put it in one of them, “restless and abandoned.” The Santa Fe Seven, encompassing keyboards, guitars, upright, bass, drums, trumpet and backup singers, is a democratic and versatile group that fills in the varied colors the songs call for.

Ludwig and his compatriots, represented by the William Morris Agency but without a record deal at the moment, were all hugs and high-fives after the set, which stretched a good 10 minutes beyond the allotted time when onlookers chanted for more.

“Waiting three months for this show has been a whole other deal,” he said.

--Randy Lewis

Photo credit: Getty Images