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Longtime Baeble fans might remember that four years back, we introduced you to upstart blues powerhouse ZZ Ward, who stunned us with her brand of Delta Blues that's somehow untouched by time. Fast-forward one album and a whole lotta touring later (and a change of location on our end), Ward is back at Baeble HQ to bless us once again with her uncanny knack for dusty blues and folk. This time around, Ward is less than a month away from releasing her second album The Storm, which promises another round of the rugged, genuine blues-rock we all came to know and love from her first one. We're frankly pretty damn excited for the new album, so when the opportunity arose to have her back for another session, we simply couldn't pass up the opportunity.

Just like in her fist session, Ward knows how to bring the blues in full force, thanks to grooving guitar rhythms and her signature electrifying vocals. Just like some of the best old blues records from the 50s, Ward's music offers massively raw power and untethered emotion, so it's a huge bonus music like this is still being made in 2017. We were so happy to have ZZ Ward rocking out in the studio again, and we're even happier to share here exclusive session with the world. Watch her full performance right here, and look out for The Storm, out June 30.

Transcript

Well, the last time I saw you guys was about four years ago... She stole my man, took him from me She's got crimson eyes
...and a lot's been going on since then. I put my first album out in 2012, which was around when I saw you guys.
And, a lot of touring with that first record, I went on a road for off and on for two, three years.
It really was kind of like this slow build that just kept, kept building.
I played a lot of festivals, so many.
I just really got my touring legs under me.
I started to go on the road with the music I had done, this was a couple of years ago and I just felt like there was more that I could do.
I felt like I wanted to go deeper into the blues, deeper into hip hop, deeper into music that got me inspired in the first place.
And really owning who I am in music.
Ooh, ooh I got ten fingers to the sky
My back to the wall, my white flag high Her lips, just like a gun
She's got silver bullets on her tongue He's deep under her spell
I'm screamin' out, but it just won't help
I think I'm cursed, I had him first Adeline, have mercy
You don't wanna break my heart Take what's mine, don't hurt me
Steal my money, steal my car Don't take my man, don't take my man
I said, don't take my man 'cause you know you can
Put the gun down, ooh Put the gun down, ooh
She stole my man, took him from me She's got crimson eyes, a screamin' body
Face is young, she must taste sweet She drops those panties to her knees
Walkin' on my happy home She won't give up until I'm gone
I think I'm cursed I had him first
Oh, Adeline, have mercy You don't wanna break my heart
Take what's mine, don't hurt me Steal my money, steal my car
Don't take my man, don't take my man
I said, don't take my man 'cause you know you can
Put the gun down, ooh
Put the gun down, ooh Put the gun down, put the gun down
Put your finger on the trigger now Put it down, put it down
Put it down, put it down Put the gun down, put the gun down
Or I'ma set fire to the whole damn house Put it down, put it down
Put it down, put it down Whoa, oh, Adeline
Adeline, have mercy You don't wanna break my heart
Take what's mine, don't hurt me Steal my money, steal my car
Don't take my man, don't take my man
I said, don't take my man 'cause you know you can
Put the gun down, ooh
Put the gun down, ooh Put the gun down, ooh
Yeah, ooh Put the gun down
I am putting out my new album called The Storm on June 30th.
This is exactly what I'm...
I can't say that The Storm is more personal than Til The Casket Drops.
I think it's just as personal.
I think I'm a very... I learned this over time about myself, I'm a very emotional person, I'm very comfortable expressing myself and my vulnerabilities through my music.
Because I've done that like on the first album and I've had fans tell me that that's helped them, that only encourages me to do it even more.
So, definitely these new songs are very raw and very real to me.
This is exactly what I, I was afraid of, yeah
I get too close to you and find out what you're made of
I would have figured you out sooner or later
It's getting ugly, but it looks good on paper
My daddy raised me Tried to keep me his sweet baby
But who else can I call When my whole world is going crazy?
Singing, help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama Help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama
I grew up searching for my, my ever after, yeah
But when I got there I found nothing but disaster
I'm screaming at you, but you meet me with laughter
Us moving forward is just me moving backwards
My daddy raised me Tried to keep me his sweet baby
Who else can I call When my whole world is going crazy?
Singing, help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama Help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama Just when you get me high
That's when you drive me low Just when I hold you tight
That's when you let me go And this house is smoking
Can't breathe, the windows broken But, baby, if you burn me
Better sleep with one eye open Singing, help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama Help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me mama Help me mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama Help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me ma-ma-ma-mama
Help me ma-ma-ma-mama Help me mama
Help me mama
The process is really I think just knowing who you are, really listening to, staying really close to the kinds of music that express you the best.
For the inspiration behind the songs, I really dug into a lot of my past relationships, a lot of heartbreaks, a lot of things that I had kind of swept under the rug and didn't want to face.
I kind of faced a lot of my demons on this record.
Kind of have to know what you want, and I think I knew what I wanted on this new album, but it was just trying to visualize that and then create it, you know? Yeah.
I don't wanna let you in
'Cause I don't wanna let this thing in Dirty karma never wins
But here we are back at it again When the lights go out
When we're all alone Won't you take me down
With your touch of gold Dreamin' while I'm wide awake
Don't know how much I can take But I need it, can't leave it
'Cause you make me breathe in The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep end Every night I, I give you up
Every time I swear it's too much
And I ain't trying to say it's done
'Cause getting some is better than none
Help me, I'm drowning I can't stop, I'm going under
Come be the air in my lungs When the lights go out
When we're all alone Won't you take me down
With your touch of gold Dreaming while I'm wide awake
Don't know how much I can take But I need it, can't leave it
'Cause you make me breathe in The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep, whoa-ooh The deep end The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep end
Taking me under You're taking me under
These covers I'm covered in I can't recover
Dreaming while I'm wide awake Don't know how much I can take
But I need it, can't leave it 'Cause you make me breathe in
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep end
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep, whoa-ooh
The deep, whoa-ooh The deep end
Whoa-ooh
I would hope that when people hear The Storm it makes them feel like it's okay to be who they are, because that's what it really has done for me.
On the new record I've really embraced who I am.
I've never felt like I quite fit in with other music so much.
I can't necessarily put myself in one genre, and I think that's okay.
And, I think that that's what makes music amazing, is all of the different kinds of music and all the versatility.
And I think we should fight for that in music.
And so, it makes me really happy that I feel that I've done that on this album.

Artist Bio

ZZ Ward didn't have to look far for inspiration on her second full-length album, 2017's The Storm. Equally evocative of blues grit with a hip-hop backbone, the Los Angeles-based vocal powerhouse and multi-instrumentalist leapt forward by taking a deeper look at some of her earliest inspirationsincluding Howlin' Wolf, Robert Johnson, and Vera Ward Hall and Big Mama Thornton.

"For me, this album wasn't really about experimenting," she admits. "It was more about simplicity, honing in on what I love about music and what makes me who I am as an artist. Growing up, I listened to a lot of hip-hop and blues, and I love those two genres so much. Sometimes, to evolve you don't need to go outside of yourself; you can reach further inside of yourself instead."

It's a realization earned over a whirlwind five years. The Fedora-rocking, guitar-playing, harmonica-wielding blues siren peppered an old backporch musical recipe with hip-hop urgency and hashtaggable wisdom on her 2012 mixtape Eleven Roses. Followed by her full-length debut Til The Casket Drops yielded a veritable hit in the form of "Put The Gun Down." The latter generated 7.4 million-plus Spotify streams and held strong in the Top 10 of AAA radio for 10 weeks as well as receiving over 100 high-profile licensing placements and syncs, including the feature film We're The Millers. Kendrick Lamar ["Cryin Wolf"] and Freddie Gibbs ["Criminal"] were quick to collaborate, while Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Elle, Interview Magazine, USA Today, NPR and more extolled her. She lit up the screen on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!, Conan, Good Morning America, The Tonight Show, The View, and many others and practically set stages ablaze on tours with Eric Clapton, Gary Clark, Jr., and Fitz & The Tantrums and at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Made In America.

Coming off the road, she decided to open up more than ever before.

"All of my favorite artists would tell real stories," she goes on. "I wanted to talk about similar things that were close to my heart. Every song became something I experienced. I've had my slew of disappointing relationships, times when I was pissed off, heart broken and times when I felt a false senses of euphoria. There are times when you struggle with yourself or with somebody else. I wanted to pour all of those emotions into my music, stay true to my roots, and tap into what inspired me in the first place."

Capturing this vision, ZZ recorded around L.A. at different studios and at home over the course of 2015 and 2016. She re-teamed with previous collaborators such as Blended Babies [Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi], Neff-U [Eminem, Dr Dre], and Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz & The Tantrums in addition to Warren "Oak" Felder of Pop & Oak [Alessia Cara] for the first time. "It was all about getting that raw emotion," she exclaims.

The first new single "The Deep" [feat. Joey Purp] emerged as a welcome surprise for fans, bottling the creative burst of confessional crooning and clever rap wordplay that defined Eleven Roses. A sample of The Charmels' "As Long As I've Got You" draped in classic slide guitar scorches as ZZ sings, "Don't know how much I can take, but I need it" before finger-snaps elevate the harmony. Kicking off 2017, W called it, "her most candid body of work yet," and The Fader praised its "spectacular effect."
"'The Deep' is about feeling trapped in a relationship that I knew was no good for me," she sighs. "I met someone that made me lose control of myself. When I wrote the song, we noticed something really haunting about The Charmels' 'As Long As I've Got You,' and we just had to sample it. I thought Joey would be perfect to bring a fiery passion and flavor to the song."

Elsewhere on the record, she serves up a gospel-style plea on the stirring and stark "Help Me Mama." "'Help Me Mama' is about my personal revelation that not everything in life is what it seems. Growing up I had expectations about what my relationships should be like with other people, the world and even myself. Realizing nothing would ever be perfect. I had to take control of my life and, unlike when I was a kid, Mama isn't always around to solve my problems.

Her booming delivery on "Cannonball" [featuring 2017 Grammy-Award winning contemporary blues artist Fantastic Negrito] belies a delicate admission of admittedly being used by someone to pass the time.

Meanwhile, "Domino" [feat. Michael Fitzpatrick of Fitz & The Tantrums] hits us right in the heart. "Fitz and I wrote this song about recurring relationships that we'd had in our pasts that left us feeling unsatisfied," she adds. "I spent many sleepless nights feeling like there was something more out there for me. This song talks about the hopeless journey I faced trying to find the right person."

In the end, The Storm represents ZZ at her core. "This album as a whole really reflects much of the internal and external conflict that I've experienced. I feel like I dug deeper into what means the most to me," she leaves off. "I hope that my stories connect with people out there and help them know they aren't alone in these struggles. That's what I can give to the world. Storms come and storms pass, it's how you weather them that defines you and makes you stronger."

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ZZ Ward

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