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Hold Time

Hold Time

16 Feb 2009
4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Format: Audio CD
Matt Ward has been quietly releasing albums of hushed folk music since 1999, but the time seems right for the world to start paying attention. 'Hold Time' sees him return to solo work after last year's collaboration with actress Zooey Deschanel as She & Him, and while he's still treading his same familiar territory, he's confirmed his status as one of the very finest old-timey troubadours.

Ward's music has a timeless quality - the fingerpicked acoustic guitar and analogue recording gives the album the same warmth that made Fleet Foxes' debut so universally loved. On `Hold Time' he sounds more than ever like a true master of his craft by pairing the formula with some of his best songs yet. The lushly-orchestrated title track is breathtaking - "I wrote this song about it/'Cos I didn't care about any worthless photographs", he sighs into the strings, his heartbroken drawl suggesting that moment is long gone.

Elsewhere, the songwriting is mostly good enough to hold up to the brave choice of covers (versions of `50s standards `Rave On' and `Oh Lonesome Me' are both solid if hardly revolutionary). `One Hundred Million Years' stands out for its beautiful guitarwork, and the strangely optimistic reflections about death on `Blake's View' reveal a new depth and variety to his lyrics. Occasionally though, he crosses the fine line into unremarkable pastiche. 'Never Had Nobody Like You' and `Fisher Of Men' are fun, simplistic rockabilly tunes but they feel somewhat unnecessary when they're in such good company. There's really no need for one-dimensional imitations of classic songwriters when he's so close to becoming one himself.
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Format: Audio CD
Like a smooth port, M Ward's timeless music sinks down very nicely indeed. Versatile and accomplished musician as he is, he also has a good ear for a catchy melody, and on this album, he has restored some classic songs with his own polish, adding his own special magic.

Delicately strummed and picked guitar, Ward's understated voice and harmonies float like a distant summer memory. Track 4, 'Hold Time', with strings, particularly sets the mood. Buddy Holly's 'Rave on' then kicks in, which although doesn't have the tempo of the original, has nice guitar flourishes added and subtle harmonies from friends.

Pleasant folky, 50s style songs fill the next few tracks, taking us to the next cracking cover, Neil Young's 'Oh lonesome me'. If you are a fan of Lucinda Williams, you will love this track, as she adds background vocals, in her cracked voice. Slow, meditating, melancholic and gorgeous - a superb rendition.

Four more worthy track's, including track 14's Link Wray/Friends of Dean Martinez sounding instumental indicates there's a great soundtrack or two in M Ward's locker.

An excellent addition to his ever growing (7 or 8?) catalogue of albums. You wont be disappointed with a purchase.
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Format: Audio CD
Has nobody else noticed that the Hold Time title track is pure Dino Valente.And that's no bad thing.I dug out Just for Love etc.M Ward doesn't need the twin guitars.He's got Buddy Holly working for him.
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