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Skele­ton Crew ★★★★


You can see why Madisen and Ruth Ward would prove so ap­peal­ing to jour­nal­ists due to the rel­a­tive rar­ity of mother-and-son duos. But the real at­trac­tion comes when they start singing. Their sound was honed over six years on the cof­fee­house cir­cuit around Kansas City and their home­town of In­de­pen­dence, Mis­souri, so Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear’s roots are raw and full-bod­ied. Each song is painted with stripes of coun­try, folk, blues, gospel and r’n’b, all de­liv­ered with the son’s tough, gritty vo­cals and sweet­ened by the mother’s gen­tle riffs and har­monies. Live by the Wa­ter and

Mod­ern Day Mys­tery are fan­tas­tic wal­lops of mod­ern folk, both ben­e­fit­ing from great skill in the songcraft depart­ment, while

Un­der­taker & Ju­niper shows the true power of the son’s strik­ing voice. madis­en­war­dandthe­mam­abear.com JIM CAR­ROLL

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