West Coast troubadour Matt Ward has developed a rapt following by playing music that requires listeners to crane their necks, prick up their ears, and use their minds to tune out outside stimuli that could easily overwhelm its delicacy. Transistor Radio, more than any of his previous releases, makes it crystal clear that the effort is worthwhile. The disc is, more or less, an homage to the possibilities of totally free-form radio, which allows Ward to follow his muse and interpret both the Beach Boys -- on a lovingly layered, all-instrumental version of "You Still Believe in Me" -- and Bach, on a haunting, wispy rendition of "The Well-Tempered Clavier." The same restlessness imbues the originals that Ward offers up here, which range from the high-lonesome Appalachiana of "One Life Away" -- which gains momentum when My Morning Jacket's Jim James chimes in on harmony vocals -- to the soft-focus psychedelia of "Sweethearts on Parade." Like the device from which it borrows its name, Transistor Radio gives off its share of static, but those moments are far outnumbered by passages of crystal clarity that create the excitement of new discovery.
Performance CreditsM. Ward Primary Artist
Vic Chesnutt Vocals
John Parish Drums
Howe Gelb Piano
Old Joe Clarks Bass,Percussion
Paul Brainard Pedal Steel Guitar
Jim James Guitar,Vocals
Rachel Blumberg Drums
Jenny Lewis Vocals
Jordan Hudson Drums
Technical CreditsLarry Crane Engineer
Old Joe Clarks Whistle
Adam Selzer Engineer
John Stanley King Artwork
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Transistor Radio based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I love this record. I enjoy all types of music, but this cd is honest-not overproduced, not full-of-itself. M. Ward's voice reminds me of Johnny Mathis on some songs--not a comparison one would expect. If you liked the Monsters of Folk record, you will enjoy Transistor Radio. On the other hand, if you like repetition, use of the word "baby",and predictable lyrics this record is not for you.