M Ward was one of my most anticipated acts of Monolith. I caught his solo show at SXSW but was really looking forward to seeing him play with a full band. But due to my poor sense of time, I wound up sprinting down the steep steps of Red Rocks just as Matt started into “Sad, Sad Song” (my favorite song of his).
I got there just in time for his drummer to kick in during the second verse and loved every minute of it from there on out. My initial inclination was to compare M Ward to Johnny Cash, but I think I was thrown off by his all black outfit at Monolith. No, I think M Ward is more like the Jack White of folk music. He seems like a relic of the 1950s, he’s fairly private, he collaborates with a wide range of people and he’s just about the best there is at what he does. Yup. He’s the folk version of Jack White.
Maybe the best part of M Ward’s set that I caught (I had to skip out just over the halfway point) was a cover of an instrumental John Fahey that led straight into a performance of “Fisher of Men” off his new record Hold Time. Fantastic. Apparently he finished the set off with “Roll Over Beethoven,” but I unfortunately didn’t catch it. Oh well, what I got during half a set was better than most bands could muster all day.
More photos after the break.