By David Werther.
M. Ward, Hold Time (Merge Records, 2009)
Hold Time is a trip through space and time. It begins at Mount Zion with the promise of the kingdom, "Absolute Beginners," and ends at Shangri-La, longing for a look from the Lord, "Shangri-La." In between, there is ecstasy,"Hold Time," heartache, "Oh Lonesome Me," rescue, "Fisher of Men," and the door of death,"Blake's View." Along the way, Ward incorporates country, "Fisher of Men," pop, "Hold Time," rock, "Never Had Nobody Like You," and blues, "One Hundred Million Years;" he caps it off with an instrumental "outro" of a Joel Heron-Jack Wolf-Frank Sinatra song, "I'm a Fool to Want You." In a CD filled with fine songwriting, the soft, slow title track stands out. Ward sings of "the endless summer" in his lover's eyes, a particularly poignant song at this time of year.