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M. Ward - Transistor Radio

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Transistor Radio

M. Ward

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Listening to M. Ward's breezy ode to radio's forgotten heydays is a lot like taking in a huge breath of dust-bowl wind -- however, its charms are rooted in the hazy lemonade-sipping of summer rather than the great depression-obsession of the post-O Brother, Where Art Thou? mainstream. Ward's voice is a slap-delayed pastiche of Ron Sexsmith's easygoing croon and Andrew Bird's closed-mouth drawl, and like his front-porch fingerpicking, it's as effortless as it is effective. Transistor Radio begins with a lovely instrumental version of the Pet Sounds classic "You Still Believe in Me," then drops the needle on "One Life Away," a lo-fi shout-out to the radio towers of old that centers around the sly and condemning lines "To all the people in the ground/Listening to the sound of the living people walking up and down the graves/Well one of them is mine/I'm visiting my fräulein/She's only one breath away." Many have used the "fake old 78" approach before, but in Ward's hands it sounds truly genuine, and his falsetto harmonizing is as spooky as the song is sweet. While the rest of Radio plays out like a sequel to 2003's excellent Transfiguration of Vincent, with standout cuts like "Sweethearts On Parade," "Hi-Fi," and "Paul's Song" echoing that record's marvelous title track ("Vincent O'Brien"), there's a subtle optimism at work here that was only hinted at on previous recordings, and by the time he wraps the whole thing up with a gorgeous rendition of J.S. Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier," it's become apparent which fork in the road this eccentric troubadour has chosen, and it's generously dotted with pregnant storm clouds.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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Transistor Radio

M. Ward

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1
You Still Believe In Me
00:02:24

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Brian Wilson, Composer, Lyricist - Tony Asher, Composer, Lyricist - Universal Music Publishing Ltd, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

2
One Life Away
00:01:57

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Carmen Lombardo, Composer, Lyricist - Charles Newman, Composer, Lyricist - Copyright Control, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

3
Sweethearts On Parade
00:02:13

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

4
Hi-Fi
00:04:15

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

5
Fuel For Fire
00:04:13

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

6
Four Hours In Washington
00:03:01

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

7
Regeneration No. 1
00:01:18

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

8
Big Boat
00:02:46

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

9
Paul's Song
00:03:11

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

10
Radio Campaign
00:02:37

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

11
Here Comes The Sun Again
00:02:22

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

12
Deep Dark Well
00:02:25

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

13
Oh Take Me Back
00:02:08

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

14
I'll Be Yr Bird
00:02:55

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

15
Lullaby + Exile
00:02:44

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer, Composer, Lyricist - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - Crooked Spine Music, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

16
Well Tempered Clavier
00:02:58

M. Ward, Main Artist, Artist, Producer - Mike Coykendall, Mixer - J.S.Bach, Composer, Lyricist - SDRM, Music Publisher

2012 Bella Union 2005 M. Ward, under exclusive licence to V2 Records International Ltd. T/A Cooperative Music

Album Description

Listening to M. Ward's breezy ode to radio's forgotten heydays is a lot like taking in a huge breath of dust-bowl wind -- however, its charms are rooted in the hazy lemonade-sipping of summer rather than the great depression-obsession of the post-O Brother, Where Art Thou? mainstream. Ward's voice is a slap-delayed pastiche of Ron Sexsmith's easygoing croon and Andrew Bird's closed-mouth drawl, and like his front-porch fingerpicking, it's as effortless as it is effective. Transistor Radio begins with a lovely instrumental version of the Pet Sounds classic "You Still Believe in Me," then drops the needle on "One Life Away," a lo-fi shout-out to the radio towers of old that centers around the sly and condemning lines "To all the people in the ground/Listening to the sound of the living people walking up and down the graves/Well one of them is mine/I'm visiting my fräulein/She's only one breath away." Many have used the "fake old 78" approach before, but in Ward's hands it sounds truly genuine, and his falsetto harmonizing is as spooky as the song is sweet. While the rest of Radio plays out like a sequel to 2003's excellent Transfiguration of Vincent, with standout cuts like "Sweethearts On Parade," "Hi-Fi," and "Paul's Song" echoing that record's marvelous title track ("Vincent O'Brien"), there's a subtle optimism at work here that was only hinted at on previous recordings, and by the time he wraps the whole thing up with a gorgeous rendition of J.S. Bach's "The Well-Tempered Clavier," it's become apparent which fork in the road this eccentric troubadour has chosen, and it's generously dotted with pregnant storm clouds.
© James Christopher Monger /TiVo

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