M. Ward: “Girl From Conejo Valley” (Live In Studio 1A)

Photo by Gabriel Perez/KUTX

On his new album, More Rain, M. Ward returns to the kind of darkly mysterious songwriting that he debuted with over a decade ago. He’s always sounded like a transistor radio, tuned to varying American frequencies of country, blues, jazz, and folk. But eight albums in, the influences are more subtle, more lived-in. Nobody sounds like M. Ward, and he in turn doesn’t sound like anybody else.

The cast of characters on “Girl From Conejo Valley”–Needles Lincoln, Motorcycle Wilson, that titular girl–are mere sketches, like hazy memories. Ward pulls another one out mid-song, grasping at a line from “Helicopter,” off his 2003 album Transfiguration Of Vincent. It’s somewhat buried in the studio version, competing with a particularly electrified arrangement. But on acoustic, it’s a weighted plea. Emotionally and musically, Ward goes backward to move forward.

Watch M. Ward live in Studio 1A below.

–Art Levy

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