m. ward : hold time
it's mid-january...too early to declare an album of the year? yeah, okay--maybe. but since my instincts have been pretty trustworthy recently, after just a few listens i'm going to go ahead and make this prediction: hold time, the upcoming release from sand is overrated perennial favorite m. ward, will be one of my five favorite albums at the end of the year. there has always been a lightness that could sometimes be detected in m. ward's voice on past records, on songs like "magic trick" off 2006's post-war. but that lightness was almost always tempered by hints of melancholy on other songs on his records, or even within the same song itself. but on first listen, there seems to be an obvious buoyancy to much of hold time --sounds like he could even be in love, and maybe that's why i find myself so immediately drawn to it. with mixing help from mike mogis and guests including lucinda williams and zooey deschanel, the album continues ward's predilection for sterling production and inviting all his friends to play with him, and seems to be a worthy addition to his already outstanding catalog. who knows if it will really end up in my top five at the end of the year, but if it does not, it will have been a truly great year in music.
m. ward : "never had nobody like you"
from the forthcoming lp hold time (merge records, february 17, 2009)
listen to the entire album at npr