Before M. Ward embarked on his own glowing solo career making mind-bogglingly terrific albums, and before he met Zooey Deschanel and started recording some (She & Him) music and playing festivals with her, Matt was part of a band called Rodriguez in the mid ’90s with a strong college circuit following.
During one such university show around 1997, a kind future Fuel/Friends reader happened to pick up a modest cassette tape of solo material that Ward was experimenting with. Two years later, a similar (or maybe the same) collection of songs would end up in the hands of Howe Gelb (Giant Sand), who became fond of this Portland troubadour’s warm, stark folk sounds and released his first album Duet For Guitars #2 on his own Ow Om label.
Third in a mini-series of “Before They Were Blogged,” it has taken me over a year to realize exactly how buried and forgotten these tunes are. Since my reader actually converted them from that original cassette tape he still has, I’m fairly sure this is an unheard sonic collection — one that M. Ward’s fans will enjoy listening to as much as I have. Unfortunately I don’t have much more information to go on other than what my reader tells me, but all the things I love about M. Ward are certainly here in all their humble, honey-drenched, warm, raspy vibrancy.
SOLO CASSETTE/DEMO TAPE
If The Devil Came And Promised Me Joy
Made of Glass
Tom Violence (Sonic Youth cover)
Must Be Waiting
No, You Can Never Make It New Again
Bye Bye Love (re-working of the Everly Brothers hit)
I’m Going Higher