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Fresh Stuff from M. Ward

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Singer-songwriter-producer M. Ward was, for years, a little-known gem of the indie-folk underground. That is no more the case. Over the last handful of years, Ward has established himself as a staple of the somewhat-underground pop scene.

His She & Him collaborations with Zooey Deschanel, his Monsters Of Folk project with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes and Jim James of My Morning Jacket, and his steady stream of introspective, gritty solo albums have pulled him from the fringes into the mainstream. Then there’s his production work with standout artists, including Mavis Staples and Jolie Holland.

On his new album, More Rain, Ward does what he does best: create lovely, loner jams that are handcrafted down to each guitar lick and quietly desperate lyric. As NPR reports:

More Rain‘s minute-long opening track is nothing but the howl of wind and the patter of precipitation, and it kicks off a string of songs that elaborate on that contemplative motif. As cohesive as it is, though, More Rain isn’t a concept album. It’s more of a mood piece, an overcast state of mind translated into easygoing melody and an underpinning of dusty Americana and late-’60s/early-’70s AM radio. From the atmospheric pedal steel of “Pirate Dial” to the keening Moog solo in “Girl From Conejo Valley,” the album paints in a pensive portrait in tans, browns and grays — an old corduroy jacket soaked by a sudden spring cloudburst.

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