M. Ward has been a busy man. Between side projects like She and Him and his work as a producer (Ward helmed Mavis Staples’ forthcoming release Livin’ on a High Note), it’s a wonder that the Portland-based songwriter has had any time to work on his solo career. But after three years of relative silence, Ward’s 8th album, More Rain, comes out tomorrow on Merge Records. Of course, he did get a little help from some famous friends and collaborators like k.d. lang, Peter Buck, and Neko Case.
Like his hometown this time of year, the album can be a little overcast and gloomy at times. Thankfully, More Rain is littered with wonderful little moments of sunshine-- doo-wop inspired backing vocals, warm synthesizers, and gorgeously layered guitars-- that regularly peak through the clouds.
M. Ward visited the OPB studios last week and performed songs from More Rain in front of a studio audience. He was joined by an all-star cast of Portland-based musicians that included Scott McCaughey, Mike Coykendall, Adam Selzer, and Alia Farah.