M. WARD

M. WARD

August 2, 2024 8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

M. WARD

M. Ward, a singer-songwriter and guitarist who bridges eras with his music, embodies authenticity and intimacy. His 2023 album “Supernatural Thing” features original songs and guest stars such as First Aid Kit and Shovels & Rope, blending timeless American music traditions with contemporary flair.

M. Ward has clearly mastered the whole vocabulary of American popular music and made serious decisions about how to employ it for his own ends. What Ward shares with Harry Smith’s artists and Neil Young is a context of musical and human values: authenticity and intimacy. Supernatural Thing, Ward’s 2023 album, features original songs sound freshly pulled from the ground, with a little earth sticking to them. Ward’s lyric delivery has that slight rawness the ear loves, and his voice has quiet dignity and great tenderness. Supernatural Thing is an open-hearted, inviting album.

The album’s guest stars — First Aid Kit, Shovels & Rope, Scott McMicken, Neko Case, Jim James, others — enliven the album with surprises. On “Too Young to Die,” the women’s voices in First Aid Kit spread a light frosting over the melody, and their Beach Boys-like chorus on “Engine 5” makes the song sound like an instant hit. The whole program has a lovely open house feeling, reminiscent of pre-pandemic house parties.

“The title ‘Supernatural Thing’ comes from an early thought as a kid that radio traveled the same airwaves as messages from supernatural things — and music, especially remembered music, is somehow tied up in this exchange,” Ward said.

“The sending and receiving of messages from memory and dreams seem to move along this same often broken-up wavelength. In this way and many others, I see this new record as an extension, 18 years later, of my Transistor Radio record, but this new record is better because it’s more concise and has more voices and more moods — the way my favorite radio was and still is.”

Eight of the album’s ten songs are Ward originals. There’s an unusual Bowie choice, “I Can’t Give Everything Away” from Blackstar, and a live rendition of Daniel Johnston’s “Story of an Artist.”

“Bowie and Johnston are constant sources of inspiration for me, have been for I don’t know how many years,” Ward offered.

Please Note: For some non-classical concerts, the window behind the stage may need to be covered for acoustical purposes. We do not always know which artists will need the window closed, but at a certain level of amplification, it is necessary.

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