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Saturday, January 17

From NPR-Exclusive First Listen: M. Ward's 'Hold Time -Release Date Feb. 17

I haven't been this excited about an entire album in ages! It's absolutely M.azing!!! M. Ward has been a favorite of mine for a few years now. His song Chinese Translation (from his Post-War album/2006) was playing non-stop in my head for at least a year or so. I also very much enjoyed Volume One, a collaborative effort between M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel -- FANTASTIC -- Ladies, you'll adore this one!

FINALLY - - It's been a few years, but well worth the wait. I just hope I can hold out another few weeks before 'Hold Time' hits the shelves. No itunes purchase for me -- I want to touch and feel and hold on to this one.

When you have a free hour or so, I highly recommend sitting back and having an EXCLUSIVE FIRST LISTEN to M. Ward's 'Hold Time', courtesy of NPR., January 12, 2009 - The songs of singer-guitarist M. Ward seem to drift in on the crackling radio waves of a distant time. Warm and intimate, his largely acoustic and usually spare arrangements are a tribute to what Ward sees as the greatest era for American music: the 1950s and early '60s, when singers like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison infused country-rooted pop with honesty and romance. Ward's latest album, Hold Time, continues this tradition, with a gorgeously produced mix of finger-picked guitars, upright bass and shuffling rhythms, all tied together by his achy voice.

Hold Time won't be released until Feb. 17, but listeners can hear the entire album here on NPR Music as an exclusive preview.

The new disc was mixed by producer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, with guest appearances by Lucinda Williams, Zooey Deschanel (She & Him), Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists) and others. Though it mostly features all-new songs, Hold Time includes a handful of cover tunes, including Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" and "Rave On," made popular by Buddy Holly.

"I think the songwriting style of (Buddy Holly's) period was superior," Ward says in an interview with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen. "There was a certain amount of joy in it, no matter how sad the song is. You get joy in listening to these Buddy Holly or Roy Orbison sad lyrics. I'm attracted to songs that have balance between the darks and the lights and giving them all equal opportunity."

I can't even pick a favorite. At the moment though, I've been playing 'Outro' over and over and over - trying to figure out why it's so hauntingly familiar. It's an instrumental, so you can really focus on his prodigious guitar performance throughout the song. At first listen, it had a vague similarity to Santo and Johnny's 'Sleepwalk'. But now after listening to it again and again, I'm hearing this ALL TIME FAVORITE of mine:

Manha De Carnaval - John McLaughlin & Al DiMeola & Paco Delucia

Below is his live version of Chinese Translation from The David Letterman Show a while back

And here is the recorded version of Chinese Translation

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