M. Ward has gained hero status within the Northwest folk and indie scene over the past few years, and no single paragraph introduction can really do him justice. But for newcomers and old fans alike, M. Ward’s songs speak to the heart with a power that few possess. With new album A Wasteland Companion, he focuses on a more expansive sound to meet his fresh full band arrangements. And as we saw at Sasquatch! Music Festival, Ward’s new album takes well to the stage. For those that didn’t get to see his excellent performance their, his Bumbershoot appearance yesterday was definitely a delight. His songs can connect with nearly any audience and their timeless nature make them a highlight performance any day of the year.
In his Music Lounge performance early today, Ward began Bumbershoot Day 2 with a lovely set. Pulling mostly from excellent new album and the widely loved Hold Time, Ward’s band sounded excellent. Each song was as tight as an in-studio performance and as visceral as an arena show. Ward’s guitar chops never fail to wow. The thing is, he plays it so cool! As he blazes through mind-bending lines, Ward walks around stage quietly, acknowledging his bandmates and occasionally walking to the edge of the stage for a photo-op or two.
For the end of his set, the band pulls out their cover of “Rave On” from Hold Time, but the arrangement is much more akin to the Buddy Holly original than the relaxed version seen on Ward’s record. It’s a perfect closer – Ward shows off the guitar while his band provides excellent backing vocals and textures to boot. It’s a short and sweet introduction to the festivities that lie ahead today.