LISTEN: Max Bien-Kahn Crafts NOLA Jazzy Swamper On “It’s Only You”

Max Bien-Kahn is a songwriter and musician based in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he is the bandleader and creative force behind Max & the Martians. In the spirit of his adopted home city, his resume is bursting with musical partnerships: he has spent the last decade playing full-time with Tuba Skinny, a band built around the musical traditions of New Orleans, working as a studio session player and back-up musician, and collaborating with songwriters like Esther Rose, Duff Thompson, and Steph Green. Max also contributed to the landmark Mashed Potato Records compilations, a collection of NOLA’s most exciting artists and a testament to the city’s continued musical vitality.

A classic swamper, loaded with warm brass and a timeless feel, “It’s Only You” (below) is the latest single from Bien Kahn. Blended with a finely calibrated harmony, Bien Kahn’s baritone timbre is snappy, yet laid back. Not reinventing the wheel – rather preserving it – “It’s Only You” blends the sounds of country, R&B, and jazz in a way that can really only be done in the Crescent City.  

“This is a song of discovery. The narrator accepts that their loneliness is their own fault yet still unapologetically calls out for the one they lost. There’s a sadness in this tune, but singing it with Camille and Esther elevated it into something a lot more empowering,” says Bien-Kahn.

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