Ward White strikes again!

What to make of Ward White? Every 12-18 months he drops another set of pitch-perfect, muscular chamber pop-rock (like his music, every word in that description is set in its precise place), he gets notice in many of the "big" places (NPR, the New Yorker, Magnet, etc.) and yet. Here he is again, with his fifteenth release, not really close to sniffing the big time.

Ward White
Here Come the Dowsers!
(VF14 Records/Think Like a Key Music)

There's a reason why music critics like me love his music. First, he doesn't repeat himself. Second, his lyrics are genuinely unique (see the album title). His voice is one of the most unusual instruments in all of music (to rhyme what I said above, I'd call it power twee), and every song has at least one earworm. And, lastly, he's freaking prolific. Getting a link to his new album is something like finding the cool side of the pillow and being roused by your lover at the same time.

White is a creature of L.A., and as near as I can tell, he doesn't hit the road much. This album is more L.A.-centric than most, directly taking on the superficiality and insecurity of the "industry" that exists all around him. His music, and particularly his voice, are spectacularly ready to take on such an assignment, and his songwriting is just as eerily catchy and insightful as always.

I'm ready to give up on the "Why?" when it comes to White. The much more important question is the "What?" And that answer is simple. No one is anywhere near as inventive, consistent and simply always ready with new songs. No. One. Yes, Ward White is a critics darling. He always will be, and perhaps that's his destiny. Nonetheless, for those who crave spectacular music, he's a yearly (or so) treat. I'm already clearing my plate for more.

Jon Worley

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