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M. Ward

Ward (right) and Zooey Deschanel performing as She & Him at the Newport Folk Festival (2 August 2008)
Background information
Birth name Matt Ward
Born October 4, 1973 (1973-10-04) (age 36)
Origin Newbury Park, California, U.S.
Genres Indie folk
Occupations Singer-songwriter
Years active 1999–present
Labels Merge, 4AD, Matador, Future Farmer
Associated acts She & Him, Monsters of Folk, Bright Eyes

Matthew Stephen Ward, known by his stage name M. Ward, is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who rose to prominence in the Portland, Oregon music scene. In the summer of 2006, Ward relocated to New Hampshire and in the fall of 2007 subsequently returned to Portland.



His solo debut Duet for Guitars #2 was released by Howe Gelb on his Ow Om record label. Ward's 2001 album, End of Amnesia, was put out by Future Farmer Records. A collection of live recordings, Live Music & The Voice of Strangers, was a self-released disc that was sold at his shows in 2001. His subsequent albums have been released on Merge Records.

He has guested on recordings by Cat Power, Beth Orton (with whom he co-wrote the title track to her album Comfort of Strangers), The Court & Spark, Bright Eyes (with whom he toured on the 2004 Vote for Change tour with R.E.M. and Bruce Springsteen), Jenny Lewis (whose debut solo album Rabbit Fur Coat he co-produced), and My Morning Jacket.

In 2006, he contributed a song to, and helped produce the John Fahey tribute album I Am the Resurrection. He also appears on Norah Jones' album Not Too Late, performing backing vocals and guitar on "Sinkin' Soon", and toured as the opener and a member of her "Handsome Band" for the album in the spring of 2007. Also his cover of David Bowie's song "Let's Dance" is featured on the soundtrack of the 2007 New Zealand film Eagle vs Shark. Ward was previously a member of the band Rodriguez with Kyle Field of Little Wings. Their album Swing Like a Metronome was released in 2000 and produced by Jason Lytle of Grandaddy.

In 2004, Ward played guitar for Bright Eyes on a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. During the performance, Bright Eyes' singer Conor Oberst yelled out "M. Ward for President!" This prompted Newsweek to run an article on Ward and his next album Transistor Radio.[citation needed]

In 2006, he released Post-War, which was described by Vanity Fair in its August 2006 issue as thematic on the question "How will America heal once this craziness in Iraq is over?" Ward said in that article that he looked to the post-war music of the late 1940s and 1950s. "I had the naive, simplistic idea that producers and writers and artists of the time helped in a minuscule way to change the mind-set of America." The album was released on Merge Records and features cameo performances by Howe Gelb, Jim James and Neko Case.

M. Ward performing live at the Glastonbury Festival, 27th June 2009.

From the music blog It's Hard To Find A Friend: "According to the Omaha City Weekly: ...Also with recording plans for the winter is Conor Oberst. Beginning in the new year, Oberst is slated to begin recording two new albums — one a solo record in Mexico (the album is self titled "Conor Oberst") with Jake Bellows playing a role and another with a new band being formed with M Ward". [1]

In 2006, Ward recorded a duet with actress Zooey Deschanel, a collaboration which resulted in the formation of the band She & Him.[1] The duo's album Volume One — which Ward produced — was released on Merge Records on March 18, 2008. Ward and Deschanel performed (along with Yo La Tengo) on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on April 22, 2008. Returning from She & Him duties, M. Ward has released his sixth solo studio album, Hold Time, on February 17 2009. Ward has said that he doesn't enjoy playing shows very much: "In general I like it. I don't like being away from home that much. So it's O.K. It's a part of the job."[2] He has also taken steps recently to restrict fans' use of cameras—even point-and-shoots—during his live shows.[3]

Both Ward and Deschanel also agreed to be judges for the 9th annual Independent Music Awards. In doing so, She & Him are using their growing influence to assist upcoming independent musicians' careers.[4][5] [6]

Monsters of Folk, the project Ward and Oberst began, finally released their self-titled debut album in September 2009. The band also includes Jim James of My Morning Jacket (credited as Yim Yames) and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes.



Ward says that "Amazing Grace" is probably his favorite song. His favorite piece of musical equipment is the TASCAM 4-Track Recorder, which he uses to start every song he writes.[7] Regarding the types of music he grew up listening to, Ward said: "My dad turned me on to Johnny Cash. He was always into gospel and country. My mom listened to classical music."[8]




  • Scene from #12 (I Ain't Sleeping) (2002)
  • To Go Home (2007)

She & Him

Monsters of Folk

Compilation tracks

  • "John King's Watercolor Bicycle" on Acuarela Songs 1 (2001, Acuarela)
  • "Fearless" on Merge Records Presents: Survive and Advance Vol. 3 (2003, Merge)
  • "Story of an Artist" (Daniel Johnston) on The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered (2004, Gammon)
  • "One More Goodbye" on Old Enough 2 Know Better: 15 Years of Merge Records (2004, Merge)
  • "Let My Love Open the Door" (Pete Townshend) on Sweetheart 2005: Love Songs (2005, Hear)
  • "Green River" (Creedence Clearwater Revival) on Green River: Benefit For Mercy Corps (2005, Merge)
  • "Bean Vine Blues #2" (John Fahey) on I Am the Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey (2006, Vanguard)
  • "What is a Soul?" on Big Change: Songs for FINCA (2007, IODA)
  • "Let's Dance" on Sounds Eclectic: The Covers Project (2007, Hear)
  • "Crooked Lines" on The Hottest State (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2007, Sony/ATV)

Other appearances


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Matt Ward, known by his stage name M. Ward, is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who rose to prominence in the Portland, Oregon music scene. He also works with Zooey Deschanel as the group She & Him.


Hold Time (2009)

  • When you're absolute beginners,
    It's a panoramic view,
    From Her Majesty, Mt. Zion,
    And the Kingdom is for you.
    • "For Beginners"

External links

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