John Maxfield 

Elevator (Tantrum Niche Records)

Tapered-jeans-sporting John Maxfield dropped out of his Highland, Illinois, high school, moved to Kansas City, made an album, got a GED, and then came to St. Louis. Here he played open-mic nights at Cicero's, made a couple of albums and then was approached by an exec from a Sony Records affiliate who made him an offer he couldn't refuse. So the 22-year-old Maxfield made plans for an international tour and then, guess what, the money never materialized (Maxfield says the exec spent the money on a bail bondsman's services). So Sony never got Elevator, but you can (and should) on Maxfield's Tantrum Niche Records label. Maxfield plays all ten instruments on the two-disc album, which is uneven at times, flat in others (it was not mastered) and features clichéd lyrics. But Maxfield's guitar virtuosity never disappoints, and the hummalicious ballad "Bring You Down" is probably enough to get any straight chick to fall in love with him, tapered jeans or no.

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