Prolific songwriter M. Ward has announced his new album Think of Spring today, a collection of songs originally recorded by Billie Holiday – a muse to Ward and many others. To be released via ANTI- on December 11, listen to the first track “For Heaven’s Sake” HERE.
“It still feels good to invent new guitar tunings and use them to help deconstruct old songs,” M. Ward said. “Billie Holiday’s “For Heaven’s Sake” in a modified open B.”
Ward achieved the intimate sound of this record by filtering the original songs and strings through a single acoustic guitar, using various alternate tunings and a minimal amount of textures and studio manipulation. Most of the songs were recorded on an analog Tascam four track. The title Think of Spring comes from a poem written in 1924 by Jane Brown-Thompson that eventually became “I Get Along Without You Very Well” in 1938 – the first song on the record. Proceeds from Think of Spring will benefit Inner-City Arts & DonorsChoose via PLUS1 for Black Lives Fund.
“I first heard [Billie’s album] Lady In Satin in a mega-shopping mall somewhere in San Francisco,” M. Ward explained. “I was about 20 years old and didn’t know much about Billie’s records or her life or how her voice changed over the years. Anyway, the sound was coming from the other side of the mall and I remember mistaking her voice for a beautiful perfectly distorted electric guitar – some other-world thing floating there on this strange mournful ocean of strings and I was hooked for life.”
In April of this year M. Ward also released his critically acclaimed tenth studio release and first for ANTI-, Migration Stories. Recorded at Arcade Fire’s Montreal studio, the collection is languid and hazy, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy as it reckons with a world that feels more divided than ever before, even as its inhabitants grow more inextricably linked by the day. “The relaxed pacing, Ward’s intimate vocals and tips of the cap to Hank Williams, Elvis Presley and the sounds of the West give the album a decidedly nighttime atmosphere, a drizzle of starlight that settles gently on the ears and the mind,” said Associated Press. “The intimate atmospherics, along with Ward’s storytelling acumen, make it an album practically designed for deep listening rather than skipping around to the singles,” added The San Francisco Chronicle.