M. Ward has been a modern folk hero for years, but a subtle one, ceding the limelight to the likes of Conor Oberst (as one of the Monsters of Folk) and Zooey Deschanel (as the other half of She & Him). That’s his style, a wry relax that does anything but bowl you over, but has a sweet charm all its own, like on his latest, Migration Stories.
After his last, 2018’s music biz-focused What a Wonderful Industry (QRO review), Ward is back to his country-relax on Migration. This is a softer record, whether on the wry traveling showman “Coyote Mary’s Traveling Show” or the cheerier “Unreal City”. It’s just M. Ward telling you a tale while you’re on your journey, like his great take on the country-road classic (made famous by Glenn Miller) “Along the Santa Fe Trail”. And, as always, Ward’s impressive acoustic guitar work is self-evident, including with instrumentals “Stevens’ Snow Man” and closer “Rio Drone”.
M.Ward isn’t a catchy frontman, and doesn’t need to be. Instead, he’s a sweet troubadour.