M. Ward deconstructs Billie Holiday classics

“It still feels good to invent new guitar tunings and use them to help deconstruct old songs”

Prolific songwriter and musician M. Ward has found a fresh approach to honouring and reimagining Billie Holiday songs.

M. Ward looking through particles

“I first heard Lady In Satin in a mega-shopping mall somewhere in San Francisco. I was about 20 years old and didn’t know much about Billie’s records or her life or how her voice changed over the years. The sound was coming from the other side of the mall and I remember mistaking her voice for a beautiful perfectly distorted electric guitar – some other-world thing floating there on this strange mournful ocean of strings.”

Ward filtered the songs and strings through a single acoustic guitar, using various alternate tunings. Most of the songs were recorded on an analog Tascam four-track. “It still feels good to invent new guitar tunings and use them to help deconstruct old songs,” Ward noted.

The Think of Spring title comes from Jane Brown-Thompson’s 1924 that eventually became ‘I Get Along Without You Very Well’ in 1938.

Proceeds from Think of Spring will benefit Inner-City Arts & DonorsChoose via PLUS1 for Black Lives Fund. It is the follow-up to Migration Stories which was recorded at Arcade Fire‘s studio in Montreal.

Think of Spring is due out on December 11, 2020, on ANTI-.

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