I've been an M. Ward fan since hearing his lovely little ditty "Fool Says" while working at Starbucks. His recent foray with Zooey Deschanel earned him some serious mainstream media attention, and deservedly so. Apparently Volume II is in the works, so Soccer Moms and Hipsters alike can wait with baited breath for that 2010 release.
His newest album, Hold Time, is receiving major accolades. Spanning from country to the beach-blanket variety seen on Volume I, the album features some major players; the astounding Lucinda Williams had me with her epically mournful West and is a welcome dash of whiskey-soaked sadness on "Oh Lonesome Me". Ms. Deschanel makes a brief appearance too, on the bouncy single "Never Had Nobody Like You."
Matt Ward's albums always have the same sort of disembodied mystery to them - Vocals set back and spooky, his voice a little raspy, a vague air of disenchantment with lots of songs about writing songs, lost love, etc. The same goes here. His music requires little of the casual listener (it can easily play as background music) while also satisfying people like me, the kind who read lyrics like short stories. And with just about the prettiest album art I've seen lately, this one will be on repeat at my house through the coldest days this month.
Enjoy a download of "Oh Lonesome Me" and grab the album when it hits iTunes on Tuesday.