If there's anyone a budding musician should aspire to emulate, it's M. Ward. By carefully honing his craft with each album, the California-based singer/songwriter has slowly built up one of the most engaging bodies of work around.
His latest disc could be his best yet. While it has Ward's trademark low-key sound, the troubadour tackles multiple genres like folk, blues, rock and country. He also employs swelling strings on the Brian Wilson-like title track and a bevy of guest artists, including Lucinda Williams on the moving cover of Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me.
It's hard to see how Ward can keep getting better, but somehow he does.
Top track: Never Had Nobody Like You