Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

M. Ward 

Post-War (Merge)

Matt Ward makes modern folk music with an old soul. Like the iconic Delta-blues troubadour, Ward's front-porch, finger-picking, humming tales about life's highs and lows have celebrated the simple folk traditions of a man and his guitar across four fantastic full-length albums. Possessing the finger skills of John Fahey and the voice of a chain-smoking Nick Drake, Ward continues his love of Appalachian, blues, and folk-guitar music on Post-War, but for the first time with a full band and a polished rock edge.

The album's lonely opener, "Poison Cup," is only a pretty lullaby before the stunning rock-and-roll squall of "To Go Home," which swirls with Ward's chugging guitar rhythms and Neko Case's breezy backing vocals. It's a cover of a song from off-kilter indie-folk artist Daniel Johnston, reinvigorated with a rollicking honky-tonk life force. That same rock spirit infuses the perfect Beach Boys comeback track "Magic Trick" as well as the great, Beck-like slacker ballad, "Right in the Head." Fortunately, there are still plenty of murky pools of beautiful folk music here too, driven by M. Ward's expansive guitar work and his old-world spirit. Songs about life's simple pleasures ("Rollercoaster") and its inevitable disasters ("Requiem"), in particular, feel like sincere, time-honored folk favorites.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Speaking of CD Review

More by Keith Gribbins

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays