Copyright ©2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's go now to the musician M. Ward. The M is for Matt. But just as his stage name suggests a little mystery, M. Ward's music inspires a sense of wonder. It's reminiscent of sounds from a different time and place.

Take the song, "Sweetheart."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEETHEART")

M. WARD: (Singing) You have a sweet heart, sweetheart. You have a nice smile, baby. You drove me crazy down lover's lane.

Well, I get most of my inspiration from older records and older production styles, older guitar styles. And that ends up rearing its head in the records that I make.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SWEETHEART")

WARD: (Singing) I can't explain this love I got for you. I cannot tame my desire for you. And when it starts again, don't forget I love you.

One of the great things about music is that it, you know, it has the capability of time travel. You smell a certain smell in the room, and it takes you back to your childhood - I feel like music is able to do that. And it happens to me all the time.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: The making of his new album, "A Wasteland Companion," took M. Ward to some faraway places - Austin, Texas; Bristol, England; eight studios in all. He had to reckon with spending more and more time away, often on tour, from his native Portland, Oregon.

WARD: There's a lot of songs on the record that are about being away versus being home, and trying to bridge gaps, and how inspiration plays into all of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE FIRST TIME I RAN AWAY")

WARD: The first time I ran away, I saw faces in the trees. I heard voices in the storm.

MONTAGNE: M. Ward hopes listeners hear "A Wasteland Companion" as a kind of musical travelogue.

WARD: Where the listener sort of does this traveling with the artist around to all these different places, and so there's this movement inferred in the listening of the record.

MONTAGNE: One place M. Ward takes us is into the control room of a nameless TV station - and the mind of one of its bitter employees - in the song "Watch the Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WATCH THE SHOW")

WARD: (Singing) Goodnight to all you late-night TV watchers. And let me say good morning to you all.

That particular song started with this weird dream I had about this newscaster on TV, and his name was Billy Burrows - and this song just kind of poured out of that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WATCH THE SHOW")

WARD: I'm the guy who has just hijacked this channel. This telecast is now under my control. And now that I have the chance to say what's on my mind, let me tell you tales untold.

MONTAGNE: The musical tales from guitarist and singer M. Ward. Hear more at NPRMusic.org. His new album, "A Wasteland Companion," is out today.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC, "I GET IDEAS")

WARD: When we're dancing and you're dangerously close to me, I get ideas. I get ideas. I want to hold you so much closer than I dare do. I want to scold you 'cause I care more than I care to. And when you touch me with a fire in every finger...

MONTAGNE: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: