Many bands have been built around the musical connection between siblings or spouses. Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, the hot new duo of American music, offer an altogether different familial twist: they are mother and son. Once you’ve heard them, that might just seem the least extraordinary thing about them.
Singer and songwriter Madisen, 26, and 63-year-old Ruth Ward went from performing in coffee houses in Independence, Missouri, to playing big theatres and making international television appearances in little more than nine months.
Their debut album, aptly titled Skeleton Crew, is anchored on the time-honoured strumming and picking of two acoustic guitars, but as Madisen explains when I meet them on their first, whistle-stop visit to Europe, these two are none too interested in bygone genres. “Are we reincarnating something that already happened before?” he wonders aloud with a mischievous grin. “I always try to stay away from making things overly country, or overly bluesy. Any time I feel a song’s getting too far into that territory, I’ll pull away and go back in the opposite direction. That way, it becomes its own weird little cyclone.
“This is an amazing record from a true American music treasure.” - Relix
“Each song is painted with stripes of country, folk, blues, gospel and r’n’b, all delivered with the son’s tough, gritty vocals and sweetened by the mother’s gentle riffs and harmonies." - The Irish Times
"Drawing on influences ranging from Tom Waits to Tracy Chapman for fully realized, stellar songs marked by tranquil acoustic guitar interplay and singer Madisen Ward's otherworldly tenor — a sundry palette of colors with which the 26-year-old painted character-driven scenes of small-town Midwestern life, emoting like a young, falsetto-capable Paul Robeson — the duo's raw, inscrutable chemistry was in full effect as they handily made a case as an inevitable force to be reckoned with in the days to come." - Rolling Stone
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