I never considered myself a deep follower of the music produced and performed by M. Ward. I know now this has been a big mistake.
M. Ward has filled his career through multiple collaborations as a musician and producer. In all of them his contribution is clear. With Conor Oberst, Jim James and Mike Mogis, he formed “Monsters Of Folk” a few years ago. Around the same time, he morphed the celebrated “She & Him” duo with singer Zooey Deschanel.
The man is an incredible musician that above all brings freshness in a strange way, through combination of traditional elements and raw sounds that evolve into something that appears new and familiar at the same time.
His appeal and preference for analog sound over the digital elements of our era has become for sure a distinctive feature of his work. This is more than evident in his most recent record, “A Wasteland Companion”, released early this month. The album is a jewel that feels above all, instructional, educative, guiding. The record expands in exactly all the different ways he pretends it to. It is almost as it has been written as a brochure depicting what alternative music should be, providing the basic elements for new musicians to follow. Moving from one song to the next feels as if you were browsing through chapters of a book full of secrets,… one of those you know you will never cover completely.
“I can trace all my songs to a specific moment” said M. Ward in 2009, before releasing “Hold Time”, his acclaimed third release. “Sometimes it’s as insignificant as a friend of yours saying something, a turn of a phrase. Other times it’s like an epiphany moment or just something beautiful that you see”. In a sense, “A Wasteland Companion” depicts stories of his journeys through the world since this time.
Trust me, even if you are as stubborn as me, this record will change your perception about M. Ward and his genius approach to music. One thing I am sure…this is for sure one of my favorites of the year.
I leave you with a clip from “Primitive Girl” from his new record and the link to the entire show at KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.