Matthew Ward is a Portland, Oregon-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist better known by his stage name M. Ward. He remains an artist that is hard to pigeonhole. Is he Indie Rock? Folk? Americana? Alt-Country? Perhaps he is all of them… and more. In all honesty, your opinion may change depending on what album or single you are listening to at the moment. And it may also depend on whether you are listening to one of his solo albums or his acclaimed She & Him project with Zooey Deschanel. Or maybe you first heard him when he was a member of Monsters of Folk alongside Jim James (My Morning Jacket) and Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. For those familiar with any of those M. Ward-related musical projects is already aware that he is an artist with boundless talent.
M. Ward first came to the attention of the Indie world with the release of his 1999 debut album DUET FOR GUITARS #2. After the release of END OF AMNESIA (2001), TRANSFIGURATION OF VINCENT (2003), and TRANSISTOR RADIO (2005), he finally came to commercial prominence in 2006 with the release of his album POST-WAR, which hit #146 on the Billboard 200. His next major release was 2008’s VOLUME ONE, the first album from She and Him, a musical collaboration between M. Ward and actress and singer Zooey Deschanel (the duo has released seven albums total). 2009 saw the release of his album HOLD TIME (#31) as well as the debut album with Monsters of Folk. M. Ward has continued to release a series of acclaimed solo albums include A WASTELAND COMPANION (2012), MORE RAIN (2016), WHAT A WONDERFUL INDUSTRY (2018), MIGRATION STORIES (2020), and THINK OF SPRING (2020).
And now, here we are at the beginning of Summer in 2023 and M. Ward returns with SUPERNATURAL THING, his first solo release in nearly three years. However, he has brought some friends along with him including Swedish duo First Aid Kit, Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken, singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane, Neko Case, Jim James, Beirut’s Kelly Pratt, and Indie Folk duo Shovels & Rope. With songs such as “Too Young To Die” (with First Aid Kit), “Lifeline,” and the title track, SUPERNATURAL THING is yet another classic M. Ward album that is layered with different levels of emotion. There are moments that will lift your spirits and there are moments that will crush your soul, but you’ll be enchanted by the album’s haunting beauty. One of the most beautiful tracks on the album is his updated cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Story Of An Artist,” which is sonically different from the original version yet contains the emotional power of Johnston’s version. Stunning.