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New singer-songwriters still entering the scene 

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When five decades of singer-songwriters are hosting free streaming concerts from home, it seems a tough time for newcomers. Yet Minneapolis’ AJ Scheiber and New York’s Chris Maxwell are among another wave entering the crowded arena.

Scheiber is a Twin Cities staple for his work with roots-rockers Wilkinson James, but Town Boy (Hoosierville Records) is his first solo outing. The 12 tracks are country-tinged stories of small-town life sung in a pleasing high tenor, offering some needed levity in songs like “Jelly Jar Blues” and “Rubber Hose Credit Card.”

Chris Maxwell was part of the Skeleton Key duo and a producer for the Bob’s Burgers series, so it’s not surprising that the production in New Store No. 2 (Max Recordings) has a polished jazzy feel, at times suggestive of Steely Dan. Still, the content of tracks like “Birdhouse” or “Jack Lee’s Dead” could never be mistaken for yacht rock. Maxwell manages to be breezy in dark times without being too ethereal or flippant.

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