THE PRESS RELEASE: “A prolific writer, producer, and performer, M. Ward has established himself as one of modern American music’s most unique and versatile voices. While he’s perhaps best known for his own remarkable output, Ward may be equally celebrated for his wide-ranging and adventurous collaborations. In just the last decade alone he’s teamed up with Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Jim James to form the beloved super group Monsters of Folk, paired with Zooey Deschanel for six records as She & Him and worked in the studio and on the road with the likes of Mavis Staples, Jenny Lewis, Norah Jones, Cat Power, Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, Peter Buck, and countless more. Ward’s newest album Migration Stories marks his 10th studio release. Recorded at Arcade Fire’s Montreal studio, the collection is languid and hazy, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy as it reckons with a world that feels more divided than ever before, even as its inhabitants grow more inextricably linked by the day. Ward’s delivery is tender and gentle throughout the album’s 11 intimately rendered meditations, but there’s an undercurrent of darkness floating just beneath the surface, a persistent sense that the end may be closer than any of us dare to realize.”
MY TWO CENTS: Do they still put advisory stickers on albums? If so, hipster troubadour M. Ward’s 10th album needs one. And it should read WARNING: This album may contain an intoxicating amount of dusky Americana meditations and post-Waitsian acoustic balladry about the state of modern existence. Do not consume during daylight hours or without imbibing alcohol and/or other mood-enhancing substances. Do not play in the vicinity of anyone attempting to ‘rock out.’ Do not operate heavy machinery — or any machinery more complicated than the device at hand, really. Just settle in, chill out and let Ward take you for a relaxing cruise through the night. That is all.