By: Tony Davis
Max Koughan performs country music at various Charlottetown venues as Lawrence Maxwell. Fresh off a Music P.E.I. award win, he released a new single last Saturday called ‘Unfinished Business’. (Photo by ECMA)
Max Koughan’s first career choice wasn’t music.
“I went and did a stint with the Navy for a little while which took me overseas into different continents.”
At 19 he was getting paid to see the world, he said.
“But I knew it wasn’t something I wanted to keep doing. It was a really cool experience, but it wasn’t something I was necessarily passionate about. I think a lot of the writing that I started doing came from some of those long sails, being alone at night and just being so far away from home literally in the middle of the ocean.”
Koughan would reflect on life back on the Island and relationships with family and friends, he said.
“I was literally making lists of things I wanted to do when I got home and people I wanted to reach out to that I thought I was neglecting, or I wasn’t necessarily present for. I actually credit that experience with the Navy, that kinda woke me up a bit.”
He realized there was so much he could do with his life, he said.
Koughan performs as Lawrence Maxwell and last Saturday, he released his latest single from his living room titled Unfinished Business in front of a group of friends.
Koughan started performing as Lawrence Maxwell after producing a music video and dropping an album called Not Your Outlaw this past June.
He came up with the country music style for his music and name easily, he said.
“Lawrence Maxwell is actually my first and middle name, but I went by Max my whole life. I used to write stories when I was at the babysitters, and I always thought it sounded kind of professional.”
Koughan recently won the Music P.E.I. Country Recording of the Year award.
“It was the first year I could technically qualify for that, so sure enough it worked out, that’s kind of cool,” he said.
With his recent win you would think Koughan is a seasoned veteran, but his first performance was in 2015 at a benefit at the P.E.I. Brewing Company.
“There was probably about 700 people, that was my first experience. I was nervous as hell,” he said.
He has come a long way since, honing his craft at open mics around Charlottetown.
Koughan didn’t play a lot of music when he was growing up, but his dad used to pull out the guitar at family gatherings. In fact, since he has been performing the family has been getting out to see him and even join him on stage.
“It’s a family thing for sure,” he said.
In the summer, Koughan hopes to play some P.E.I. festivals.
“That’s been a big goal for a while now. When I started that’s what I wanted to do in the summers.”
In the past people told him he wasn’t ready to do festivals, but Koughan said he thinks that has changed.
“I think now we’re ready to start doing some of that, even if it’s just local stuff that we want to start out with and eventually branch out.”
When Koughan is trying to get inspired he goes for a walk through the woods, he said, but sometimes it just comes to him.
“Sometimes, it’s just being hungover and picking up a guitar, and being like, ‘Let’s go.’ That is where the good kind of hurting country songs come from.”