M. Ward could be a train, the dust-beaten rattle of his indie folk-blues harking back to a halcyon age before pedal racks and Guitar Centers. His crooning baritone isnt so much plaintive as weary and worn, sounding aged beyond his 35 years. Hes covered a great distance in the decade of solo releases that followed the breakup of his band Rodriguez, completing six albums of increasing sophistication, skill and power. His careers enjoyed similar gathering momentum: by 2006s Post-War, he was on par with indie songwriters such as Bright Eyes Conor Oberst and My Morning Jackets Jim James (whom he joined in Monsters of Folk, whose debut is due Sept. 22). When not performing with actress Zooey Deschanel last year in She & Him, he found time to create his finest album, Hold Time, balancing lush warmth and subtle idiosyncrasy across effortlessly beguiling songs.
Tue., July 28, 9 p.m., 2009