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—nine acclaimed studio albums that have prompted Rolling Stone to hail him a “folk hero” and The Guardian to praise him as “a maverick auteur who draws upon blues, folk, country and art-rock, and is equally adept within each genre”—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’ (out April 3), marks his tenth studio release and his debut for ANTI- Records. 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 eleven 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.
Eerily beautiful opener “Migration of Souls” imagines a reunion beyond the boundaries of space and time, while the slow-shuffling “Heaven’s Nail and Hammer” gets lost in the stars, and the driving “Unreal City” searches for peace in a post-apocalyptic swirl of synthesizers. It’s a record that draws on the full gamut of Ward’s profound powers as an artist, mixing folk tradition and timeless song craft with bold production and transportive sonic landscapes.