Exclusive First Listen: M. Ward's Hold Time
NPR.org is offering an exclusive live stream of M. Ward's new album, Hold Time. Hold Time will be released on February 17, 2009, but the CD and LP are available for pre-order now in the Merge store and you can listen to the entire album for free right here.
The songs of singer-guitarist M. Ward seem to drift in on the crackling radio waves of a distant time. Warm and intimate, his largely acoustic and usually spare arrangements are a tribute to what Ward sees as the greatest era for American music: the 1950s and early '60s, when singers like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison infused country-rooted pop with honesty and romance. Ward's latest album, Hold Time, continues this tradition, with a gorgeously produced mix of finger-picked guitars, upright bass and shuffling rhythms, all tied together by his achy voice.
The new disc was mixed by producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, with guest appearances by Lucinda Williams, Zooey Deschanel (She & Him), Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists) and others. Though it mostly features all-new songs, Hold Time includes a handful of cover tunes, including Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" and "Rave On," made popular by Buddy Holly.
"I think the songwriting style of (Buddy Holly's) period was superior," Ward says in an interview with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. "There was a certain amount of joy in it, no matter how sad the song is. You get joy in listening to these Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison sad lyrics. I'm attracted to songs that have balance between the darks and the lights and giving them all equal opportunity."
Listen M. Ward's unreleased album Hold Time for free here.
M. Ward tour dates available here.