The Crooked Spine
Label: Merge Records
M. Ward's debut was first released by Co-Dependent Records in 1999. It garnered incredible acclaim in the underground music community before going out of print. The good folks at Merge Records have reissued it with three bonus songs. "Were You There?" rolls with hushed vocals and delicately picked arpeggios before breaking into a rhythmic strumming as Ward sings like a descendent of Woody Guthrie. The flowing and watery guitar leads on "Not A Gang" carry the doubled vocals like a leaf on a stream, and "Duet For Guitars #1" is a delicately layered instrumental that recalls a mellow John Fahey.