Versatile, genre-bending, timeless, and prolific, with a solo career spanning 20 years, prominent and beloved collaborative groups like She & Him and Monsters of Folk, and a seasoned run as a producer, songwriter, and composer, Portland’s M. Ward is, without a doubt, one of the indie folk scene’s most important modern fixtures. Still buzzing from last year’s great, personal latest LP What a Wonderful Industry, Ward is set to return to Nashville for the first time since an opening set with Jenny Lewis more than three years ago (and for the first time as a headliner in ages), tonight, Aug. 24 at The Basement East with local favorite Molly Parden. A must-see for fans of era-spanning, earnest indie folk, tickets are still available right here while they last! Read on for more about the show.
Southern California raised, Portland based singer-songwriter M. Ward was born Matthew Ward, exposed to a variety of musical styles and honed on self-taught covers and lo-fi home demos. After briefly performing with a folk rock group, Rodriguez, in college, and subsequently relocating to his longtime home of Portland, Ward adopted the M. Ward moniker and made his debut with 1999’s Duet for Guitars #2. After forging a style influenced by a variety of genres and musical eras, pulling strongly from folk, American roots music, alt country, pop, and indie and experimental rock, Ward had, by the mid-00s, managed to gain critical buzz and a cult following, breaking out to a broader audience with his 2005 fifth effort and first to feature full-band backing, Post-War, which featured the likes of Jim James, Mike Mogis, and Neko Case. Resonant at a time indie rock was seeing a huge popular resurgence, yet always on the folkier side of things, akin to peers like Bright Eyes, the latter half of last decade really saw M. Ward’s prestige rise, first with the formation of indie pop duo She & Him, along with Zooey Deschanel (who’ve continued to release several well-received albums over the last decade), as well as the supergroup Monsters of Folk, with Jim James, Conor Oberst, and Mike Mogis, whose one and only LP turns 10 this year. Also an accomplished composer, producer, and collaborator, having worked with artists like Jenny Lewis, Cat Power, and Norah Jones, recent years have seen Ward continue to flex his artistic range, refine his unrelenting personal perspective, and challenge his creative boundaries, with most recent album, last year’s What a Wonderful Industry, offering a seasoned and biting critique of the perils of the music industry at large. Your favorite songwriter’s favorite songwriter, M. Ward is, without a doubt, one of the most prolific and important artists of the last 20 years, and a captivating live performer who you should seek out whenever you have a chance!
A local favorite, singer-songwriter Molly Parden hails originally from Jonesboro, GA, but has long been an integral part of Nashville’s Americana and folk community. While you may recognize from her numerous and frequent guest and background vocal appearances with other buzzy artists (both live and recorded), Molly’s solo work is where she truly shines. Though the singer put out a record, Time Is Medicine, back in 2011, she was initially hesitant to perform her own music live after relocating to Nashville, opting instead to back other artists. However, after encouragement from fans and friends, Parden finally released a new EP, With Me in the Summer, in 2016, and has been ramping up her solo efforts ever since, showcasing a knack for layered, emotional, and gorgeously harmonic compositions, enchanced by phenomenal live shows. Molly has dropped a few new singles lately, and well as a recent collection of covers with Hollow Hum, so here’s hoping we have even more to look forward to soon!
M. Ward and Molly Parden will perform tonight, Aug. 24 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 9 p.m. (doors at 8 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $28.