photo by Gabriel Perez
It was a little unsettling discovering M. Ward’s latest release, More Rain, is his ninth solo album. This particular human remembers a 15 year old version of themselves carefully placing his song “Let’s Dance” on a mix-tape designed as an (retrospectively misguided) attempt to win favor with some teenage crush. Revealing personal anecdotes and uncomfortable nostalgia aside, even after a sixteen year plus solo career, five albums as the him of She & Him, touring with folk-rock supergroup Monsters of Folk, and numerous other projects with bands/musicians ranging from Jenny Lewis, My Morning Jacket, Mavis Staples, and Cat Power, M. Ward has yet to show any signs of creative exhaustion.
More Rain still has some of the John Fahey/Bad Timing era Jim O’Rourke flavor of his early recordings, his signature sepia tone voice, and plenty of woolgathering ballads to move the backroad air on a nighttime drive. Surely, there is no dramatic departure from his previous work here, but that is part of what is so compelling to his music. All his solo work lives in some indiscernible time that can momentarily erase the years separating the love-cautious adult one is, from the hopelessly romantic teenager one was.