"My influences are Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt," explains Stalling. "It's their lyrics. Also Merle Haggard, and the three Jims I call them: Jim Croce, James Taylor, and Jimmy Buffet. They're all great lyricists and storytellers. Also, Lyle Lovett and Nancy Griffith to a large degree. And Keen (Robert Earl). When I first heard him, he was so immediate and so within reach. I could relate to everything he said." Storytelling is Stalling's strongpoint, the real nature of his work.
Although Stalling's first two albums, Comfort in the Curves and Wide Afternoon (whose title track is extremely catchy) are both tight collections, One of the Ways is his strongest and most mature compilation yet. There is a quiet confidence in it: Something about Stalling's music is very becoming, appealing; it has a very down-home earthiness. There is a comfort zone here, a circular, soothing sound I like to give a slow listen to, while lying here at 3:00.
It seems that Stalling did the right thing in trading his five-year corporate day job stint at Frito-Lay for a lifetime of folky, Americana songwriting, and singing. He will be playing at Casbeers on Saturday, December 14.
MAX STALLING CD RELEASE PARTY
Saturday, December 14
1719 Blanco Road