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  • Bryon Harris

John Maksym - 'Drinkin' & Thinkin'

By Sylvie Marie & Staff

When Kitchener, Ontario-native John Maksym was a kid, he liked to jump on his parents' furniture and sing along to Bruce Springsteen hits from the 80s while dawning a red cape and face mask playing a plastic red guitar. Music was his super hero. Today, Maksym brings that enthusiasm to his music career which encompases writing, recording and performing. As the frontman for several independent alternative rock bands from the late ‘90s to 2019, John honed his craft in the 13 years leading his most recent band, Breaching Vista. The highlights of his career include working with Live Nation Canada on several events; directly supporting Marianas Trench, Finger Eleven, Theory of a Deadman, USS, Kim Mitchell, and The Tea Party, playing The Vans Warped Tour, Sound of Music, and Beat Rocks the Block; working with JUNO Award winning producer, engineer, and mixer Siegfried Meier, who recorded Breaching Vista’s single Sleep (which gained rotation on terrestrial radio in Canada); gracing the cover of ECHO magazine; performing at the Gemini Awards; and John’s final BV song, "Planet", was a semi-finalist in the Music City Song Star (2019) and Unsigned Only (2020) songwriting competitions. John is embarking on the next chapter of his musical journey in 2020, launching his career as a solo recording artist. A great way to get acquainted with Maksym's solo work is to check out his song, "Drinkin' & Thinkin'" which was released in advance of his new EP, Fear.

"Drinkin' & Thinkin'" comes out of the gate will full-on energy like a strong gush of wind. Muted guitar is at the center of the song's upbeat arrangement playing crunchy sixteenth power chords that drive the song forward. The drum holds steady with large donwbeats on the quarter, making this song easy to stomp a rock n' roll foot to or just put your hands in the air. There's a bit of country-rock running through it's mainly rock n' roll veins. The pre-chorus builds nicely in intenstiy to the ever-catchy chorus:

"Live a good damn life, no regrets or fear And when my time is up, I’ll be thinkin’ ‘bout Love I’ll be thinkin’ ‘bout love Drinkin’ and thinkin’ ‘bout love I’ll be thinkin’ ‘bout love"

As the song progresses, the musical prowess and fantastic arrangement will surprise you. The muted guitar entrance expands greatly in instrumentation, rhythmic nuance, and dynamics for an all out impressive rock song that is in-the-pocket. Maksym is on lead vocals, guitar and acoustig guitar; Fadi Khoshaba is on drums and additional vocals: the bass is played by Travis Switzer; Dimitri LeBel is on lead guitar, lap steal guitar and banjo. Additional vocals are by Adam Fiasco, Harley Olivia, Siegfried Meier, Fadi Khoshaba, and Maksym. The drums are crisp; the addition of banjo adds a great texture; lead guitar fills are tasteful; and a group sing-a-long section and shouts of "hey, hey, hey!" is the icing on the cake. Kudos to the teamwork: the engineering, mixing, mastering and production brings it all together seamlessly.

All the practicing Maksym did as a kid has certainly paid off. Vocally, his performance is filled with frontman charisma. Maksym is simply fantastic as he never lets go of the moment, keeping listener's ear locked in from beginning to end.

"Drinkin' & Thinkin'" was inspired by Tony Robbins’ profound “Rocking Chair Moment” where you imagine yourself sitting in a rocking chair on your front porch at 80 years old, with a glass of whisky in hand reflecting on your life. Hopefully, you'll be "thinkin' 'bout love." Lyrically, Maksym is a thoughtful writer. "Now my boots are muddy and my pride is strained. And my heart’s so heavy, I can’t bear the weight." Life is risky, messy, and heavy, but at the end of the day it's not the mud your'e thinking of - it's the love.

John Maksym is a masterful songwriter and performer. "Drinkin' & Thinkin'" invites you to raise a mug to life as you think about all the paths your have traveled and the love you've experienced along the way. This song is a high that will stay with you for a very long time. John Maksym is an artist to watch and his upcoming EP, judging by this song, promises to be one of the best of the year.

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