Musician M. Ward revs up The Afternoon Shift

May 21, 2012

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The list of artists and bands that Matt Ward has played with could fill this entire blog post.  I could shorten it and name-drop a few: Bright Eyes, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, Norah Jones, Zooey Deschanel, Cat Power, and Monsters of Folk. He even appears on the new album from Chicago's Kelly Hogan.

But the Portland, Oregon based musician has also released a number of albums-this makes seven-under the name M. Ward, the newest one being A Wasteland Companion. It contains 10 originals and 2 covers. 

One of those covers is a tune by Daniel Johnston, a songwriter whose material Ward has mined in the past to good effect. 

His Zelig-like ability to seemingly be jamming everywhere with everyone is given further cred by the fact that Ward recorded this album in 8 different studios on 2 different continents with 18 different musicians.

Stylistically, A Wasteland Companion draws from 50's roots rock and rockabilly, 60's Phil Spector wall-of-sound, and 70's easy-breezy AM radio.  It contains rockin' moments, pop thrills, and beautiful acoustic guitar riffing.  

Along with Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth) Band, Ward and his crew play tomorrow night at Chicago's Vic Theater.