M WARD – ” Migration Stories “

Posted: April 3, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Born out of real stories of human migration, including those of Ward’s own ancestors, “Migration Stories” plucks us out of our lives and places us somewhere mysterious and unknown, beyond this world. Ward sings of the need for reunion with a loved one, transcending any time or place and giving an epic, mythical feeling to a well-worn concept.

If, as M. Ward says of his 10th album, Migration Stories, “music is a filter” through which to process the onslaught of heart-wrenching news we’re fed each day, then we are even more fortunate to have it than he probably realized while he was making it. Music can make it all go down a little easier, or, even better, it can invite us to take on a new perspective and inspire change. Migration Stories does indeed accomplish this. It makes us listen a little more closely and look for the beating heart at the center of even the stories that seem to gut us. Born out of real stories of human migration, including those of Ward’s own ancestors, Migration Stories treads perilous ground through his gauzy, dreamy tone.

From the opening track “Migration of Souls,” we are plucked out of our lives and placed somewhere mysterious and unknown, beyond this world. Ward sings of the need for reunion with a loved one, transcending any time or place and giving an epic, mythical feeling to a well-worn concept. The song’s melody seems to float above us like a dream. It is romantic, even as it recalls a traumatic experience. That describes much of Migration Stories. The sinister dangers of migration linger, but Ward captures the anticipation on the quest for something better, and mostly, the in-between of it all. These songs live in that purgatory, the dream state of imagining what lies ahead.

Ward employs the organic delicateness of his voice to tell these stories with a tender touch. Even on the noir-tinged “Heaven’s Nail and Hammer,” Ward moves with great care and we can take comfort in the hypnotic repetition of his chorus as he sings, “I see heaven, heaven, heaven / Through the holes in the sky.” “Chamber Music” has a similarly murky undertone, but Ward’s gentle vocals make it more of a lullaby. And even as “Independent Man” brings in subtle saxophone and a groovier sound, Ward keeps it cool and collected. Whether knowingly or not, Ward has made Migration Stories a tonic to soothe our worried minds.

“Unreal City” by M. Ward from the album ‘Migration Stories,’ available now

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