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Come Back, My Little Peace of Mind
M. Ward Returns to Kilby Court

by Janean Parker  
 
 

Transistor Radio
M. Ward
Merge

"Hello again D.J.—this album is dedicated to the last of the independent and open format ones of your kind."

Is it possible that this new full length album could be better than those before? I wasn't greedy enough to hope for such a thing. I would have been more than content with something as good as any of Ward's earlier efforts. But this surpasses them. This is my new favorite album.

  Here is a carefully crafted collection of songs that persuade one to believe there are still some good things left in this world.

The opening notes of the first track of Transistor Radio are so quiet you'll have to turn your volume way up or you'll miss them. Having once turned it up, you won't turn it back down. Having once loaded this CD in your stereo and pushed "play," you won't take it out again.

The album opens with an acoustic instrumental cover of Brian Wilson's "You Still Believe in Me," of which Ward has said, "I wanted to pretend that it was a classical song and play it that way." Then come 14 original songs in 14 moods, each blending and merging with the next. The album closes with Bach's "Well-Tempered Clavier." Yes, J. S. Bach. And no, it's not actually played on a clavier, but an acoustic guitar, and yes, you'll like it.

Here is an album that sounds like something from our grandparents' time in the best possible way. Here is a carefully crafted collection of songs that persuade one to believe there are still some good things left in this world.

 
Here's what you may see at Kilby Court if you go this Tuesday, only then it will be in color.
 

Ward's scratchy voice and old-timey instrumentation has drawn comparisons to Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, and not without merit. Ward and Oberst are good friends who often collaborate. There is some local debate as to which of these musicians deserves the title "artist." I, personally, am aware of more people who favor Ward than Oberst. (Perhaps if Bright Eyes ever came back to Utah, one could make a more fair comparison. Conor, are you reading this?)

Ward is coming to Utah for the second time in two years, again at the casually intimate all-ages venue Kilby Court. He will be there this Tuesday night with Norfolk and Western backing him as well as opening. (For those who have been wondering what happened to the girl drummer who performed with The Decemberists at Kilby two years ago, she left when things got too hectic for her to focus on her first love, Norfolk and Western. She is Rachel Chaiya Blumberg and she makes up half of the duo.)

Kilby Court is located at 741 S. 330 West with Norfolk and Western and TaughtMe on Tuesday, April 26 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 day of show and can be got at www.24tix.com or graywhale locations.For more information, call (801) 320-9887.

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