With his natural warmth and gentleness allied to a refreshingly non-dogmatic take on retro musical styles, M. Ward is one of the more engaging Americana artists around today.
Despite the title, with its suggestion of crepuscular T S Eliot reflection, A Wasteland Companion actually seeks to shine a little comforting light into the gloom, mingling contemplative folk-blues with occasional forays into 1940s and 1950s modes: the corny antique rockabilly of Daniel Johnston's "Sweetheart", the effusive shamble of Louis Armstrong's "I Get Ideas", the cantering cowboy shuffle of "Watch the Show". Best of all is "There's a Key" featuring featherlight multi-tracked guitars. "Now I'm conquering this ocean one wave at a time," sings Ward. Who wouldn't want to join him?
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