ZZ Ward – Tickets – The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO – February 21st, 2013

ZZ Ward

ZZ Ward

Martin Harley, Mike Borgia

Thu, February 21, 2013

7:00 pm

The Riot Room

Kansas City, MO

$10.00 - $12.00

Sold Out

This event is 21 and over

ZZ Ward
ZZ Ward
 ZZ Ward is someone you haven’t heard before.
 
Hold up, let’s amend that: With early praise from Esquire (“damn near NSFW”) and Marie Claire (“will raise goose bumps down your spine”)—not to mention buzz-building appearances at South by Southwest and on Last Call with Carson Daly—this bold new voice may indeed have captured your attention already. And if that’s the case, then surely you know the deal: ZZ Ward is doing something all her own.

She calls it “dirty shine”: the bone-deep wail of old-fashioned blues crossed with the big-city gloss of cutting-edge hip-hop. Currently based in Los Angeles, Ward forged her one-of-a-kind sound growing up in small-town Oregon—“out in the sticks in the middle of nowhere,” as she puts it. “There was nothing to do, so that gave me a whole lot of time to play around with music.”

Her dad owned a pair of Hammond B-3 organs, and she learned to play those; guitar came a little later, as did the remarkable vocals she first honed singing with a blues band at the age of 12. (Yes, she sometimes had trouble getting into the clubs she was booked to play.) Then, at 16, Ward entered the world of rap—which she’d first discovered thanks to her older brother’s CD collection—in a scene that sounds like something out of 8 Mile: She drove an hour and a half to Eugene, walked into an underage hip-hop club, found the dude in charge and proceeded to tell him she should sing his choruses. “And, of course,” Ward remembers, “he was like, ‘Who the hell are you?’”

Soon enough, the members of Oregon’s hip-hop scene knew exactly who Ward was, as she crafted hooks for rappers and proved her mettle as a songwriter in her own right. Part of that meant developing the confidence to be herself—to accept that her style doesn’t slot easily into any of the music industry’s current categories.

“People wanna know what my music is, because they’re comfortable with what they know,” she explains. “But I’m just doing what’s authentic to me.” It’s that sense of commitment she inherited from some of her idols: Muddy Waters, Big Mama Thornton and especially Tina Turner, whom Ward says sings in a way that “leaves no separation between her and the song—she puts everything she has into her performance. That’s what I wanna do.”

A chance meeting with A-list tunesmith Evan “Kidd” Bogart—who’d run across ZZ’s MySpace page while checking out up-and-coming artists from Oregon—resulted in Ward’s signing to Bogart’s Boardwalk Entertainment Group. Once there, she began work on her debut album—as well as a four-song EP,Criminal—with a jaw-dropping array of collaborators, including Ryan Tedder, Pete Rock, Theron “Neff-U” Feemster, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (of A Tribe Called Quest), Ludwig Goransson, Blended Babies and Fitz (of L.A.’s Fitz and the Tantrums).

“Being in the studio with these people I’ve looked up to for so long was completely incredible,” Ward says. In fact, the experience was so inspiring that even as she assembled her EP and album, Ward found herself itching to make more music. So between studio sessions she cranked out Eleven Roses, a free mixtape on which she offers her interpretations of recent tracks by Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino and Tyler, the Creator. For “Criminal” she borrowed the beat from “Oil Money” by Freddie Gibbs, who was so impressed by Ward’s remake that he asked to contribute a guest verse to the official version on the EP; something similar happened with Kendrick Lamar, whose cameo in “Cryin Wolf” comes after Ward used his “Look Out for Detox” on Eleven Roses.

Other album standouts include “Til the Casket Drops,” inspired by Ward’s love of Alan Lomax’s influential field recordings, and the provocative “Charlie Ain’t Home,” which the singer conceived as a response to “Waiting for Charlie” by the great Etta James. And in “Put the Gun Down” Ward reaches back to her blues-bar roots in order to address a “woman trying to take my man from me,” as she puts it. Strong cuts, all—yet they scarcely prepare you for “Last Love Song,” a stunning soul ballad that the singer calls the final tune she’ll write about the heartbreak that led to so much of her current work. “The title pretty much says it all,” she admits with a laugh. “It started to make me cry as was I writing it—that’s always a good sign.”

And so it is. But for this exciting young artist on the cusp of a breakout, those tears also serve as a reminder of where she came from. ZZ Ward hasn’t forgotten anything. Now you won’t forget her.

www.zzward.com
Martin Harley
Martin Harley
Martin Harley is an internationally acclaimed slide guitar player and songwriter. His music has been enjoyed from London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall to the far reaches of Australia, across the USA and almost everywhere in between. Playing both acoustic weissenborn and electric slide guitar across his lap has become the trademark style of this dynamic artist.

Performances at Europe's biggest festivals including Glastonbury's Acoustic and Avalon stages have cemented his popularity within the acoustic blues scene. The home grown, hard touring approach he's employed over the last eight years has built a strong fan base worldwide. His 'British Americana' sound is influenced by Delta Blues and Gypsy swing and has produced a road worn style of song writing that feels as comfortable and as an old pair of shoes you just can't throw away.

Martin recordings and live shows alike have prompted such praise as. "In the Martin Harley the future of British roots and blues is assured" (Blues Nights), "Amazing" (Johnny Walker BBC radio 2) "Song writing that is staggeringly good, no one is making music like it" (Guitarist Magazine) '

'Drumrolls for Somersaults' the fourth album, reached number one in the Itunes UK blues chart in April this year. Martin's 'Blues Gone Green' bike tour (27 shows over 1200 miles in 31 days on a customised bicycle carrying all his own equipment) and holding the world record for the 'worlds highest ever gig' in the Himalayas has reinforced the idea that 'This is no ordinary musician' (Maverick Magazine)
Mike Borgia
Mike Borgia
New York born singer songwriter, with 9 solo albums, national touring cred and a passion for the grind.
Venue Information:
The Riot Room
4048 Broadway
Kansas City, MO, 64111
http://www.theriotroom.com/
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One Response to ZZ Ward – Tickets – The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO – February 21st, 2013

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