Columbia Recording artist Maxwell’s eagerly-awaited third full-length album, Now, is debuting at the #1 slot on the Billboard Top 200 Album Sales chart with first week’s sales of more than 296,000 units, according to SoundScan.
It’s Maxwell’s first #1 debut (his last full-length studio album, 1998’s Embrya debuted at #3) and best single week’s sales figures to-date. In celebration of the release of Now, Maxwell is following up his recent SRO New York 7 concerts-a precedent-setting series of seven sold-out performances in seven different venues across Manhattan (for a total of 20,000 tickets sold)-with his first major national tour in two years.
The music press is already lining up in praise of Now. Giving the album an “A-” in Entertainment Weekly, critic Tom Sinclair wrote, “…Dreamy keyboards, delicate guitar filigrees, and sultry bass lines weave throughout the songs on Now…. ‘This Woman’s Work’ is a pure gift. His angelic falsetto conjures an image of a man in perpetual grace…. Now represents a velvet-lined gauntlet thrown at the feet of today’s bling-bling-obsessed brat pack.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by Steve Jones in USA Today who gave the album “3.5 stars,” writing, “Now explores the complexities of relationships at a deeper level than the usual R&B formula. Maxwell has also grown beyond the increasingly meaningless neo-soul label that came into vogue when he first showed up five years ago. It’s more accurate to view him as a still-evolving artist who’s willing to take chances. Maxwell’s yen for romance is still as strong as ever, but has been tempered by experience and a realization that love is more than an ideal. That Ideal is reflected in the erotic funk of Now, his most soulful album yet.”
People magazine’s Chuck Arnold recommended the album saying, “Now finds the R&B loveman smoothly returning to the bedroom balladry that became his hallmark with his exquisite 1996 debut.”
Maxwell’s live shows have likewise found him championed by the music press. “Tuned into the love his fans,” wrote Ann Powers in The New York Times review of Maxwell’s recent performance at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, “Maxwell deserves the reputation of new love god that many rhythm and blues fans have given him.” The New York Daily News’ Jim Farber found this to say about Maxwell’s Roseland show: “Maxwell found a way to translate old-fashioned romance into a cutting edge style. He was at once vital and reliable, presenting himself as husband material in a package that still thrilled. Small wonder the audience responded with a non-stop swoon.”
Now was produced by Maxwell in collaboration with writing partner and friend Hod David and longtime producer/co-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Stuart Matthewman. Legendary guitarist Wah Wah Watson (who joins Maxwell again and who’s worked with Marvin Gaye, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Hancock and Barry White among others) contributes a great deal of funky sophistication with performances on several songs.
Maxwell began redefining classic soul music for a new generation with the release of his critically-acclaimed debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite in April 1996. Fueled in part by the RIAA gold single, “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite was certified platinum in March 1997, less than a year after its release. Maxwell followed up with his MTV Unplugged EP, released in July 1997 and certified gold in September 1999. His second full-length album, Embrya, was released in June 1998 and certified platinum in May 1999. Another Maxwell single, the hit “Fortunate,” was certified gold in June 1999. To date, Maxwell has achieved seven gold and platinum certifications from the RIAA for his albums and singles. He has sold more than 5 million records around the world.
Maxwell Tour Dates
09/05/01 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
09/06/01 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
09/09/01 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
09/11/01 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
09/12/01 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
09/14/01 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
09/15/01 Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheatre
09/17/01 Sunrise, FL Sunrise Musical Theatre
09/18/01 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
09/20/01 Charlotte, NC Ovens Auditorium
09/22/01 St. Louis, MO Fabulous Fox Theater
09/23/01 Kansas City, MO Midland Theatre
09/25/01 Milwaukee, WI Riverside Theatre
09/26/01 Minneapolis, MN Orpheum Theater
09/28/01 Chicago, IL Arie Crown Theatre
09/29/01 Chicago, IL Arie Crown Theatre
10/01/01 Grand Rapids, MI Grand Center, Devos Hall