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Show Review

Madisen and Ruth Ward seem like an unlikely duo to be wooing David Letterman during the last months of his legendary late night show. Affectionately known as Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear, the Mother/Son duo from Independence Missouri - the home of Harry Truman, about 15 minutes east of Kansas City - introduced the country to the bare bones, acoustic bliss of "Silent Movies"; a single that's now traversing the globe faster than the Wards can keep up with it.

Last month the duo's journey lead to a visit at our Sunset Park studios in Brooklyn, a day after the triumphant release of their debut album Skeleton Crew. During their visit, we learned a lot about the roots of their partnership; one that was born around the kitchen table and in local coffee shops 6 years ago. "Music was always playing in the house. I've been playing coffee houses since I was 19," Ruth told us. "When Madisen and I started playing together I thought, 'Whoa! What is this?' A part of me knew what I wanted to play on the guitar, knew what kind of sound I needed, and he [Madisen] hit it. No one else nailed it."

Now Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear are finding their music everywhere, for good reason. "Sorrows and Woes", "Daisy Jane", and of course, the almost-ubiquitous "Silent Movies are relaxing and refreshing pieces of American roots music. One of our editor's recently told me it was like sipping sun tea on a blazing, Midwestern afternoon. Yep, that's it. Exactly.

"We started blending our voices and it was something unique we couldn't find from other artists," Madisen told us. In a way, that perfectly sums up what makes this family band so special. Watch this session. We challenge you to find another band with more charm than the Wards. Or save yourself the trouble and just watch the session again.

Transcript

You've made mistakes You've done what you can
When your legs break You've still got your hands
So carry your sorrows and woes, oh-ah
Carry your sorrows and woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Forever, a-ah-ah
When you were young You saw the world
As lots of fun But now it just hurts
So carry your sorrows and woes, oh-ah
Carry your sorrows and woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Forever, a-ah-ah
And we said, "we're not scared"
And we said, "we're not scared"
And the crowd looks at me
Cause they know that we're not free
You were discrete With your own life
It was bittersweet A honey butter knife
So carry your sorrows and woes, oh-ah
Carry your sorrows and woes, oh-ooh
Carry your sorrows and woes, oh-ah
Carry your sorrows and woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs Woe, woe, woe, woe-oh-ohs
Forever, a-ah-ah
And we said, "we're not scared"
And we said, "we're not scared"
And the crowd looks at me
Cause they know that we're not free
- We are from a suburb of Kansas City called Independence, it's about 15 minutes away from Kansas City.
It's a nice town, it's got a lot of history.
- Home of Harry Truman.
Madison was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Then we moved around and then we ended... I guess you were three when we moved to Independence.
- Been there from three ever since in a lot of coffee house venues and stuff that we played in there, and...yeah, pretty quiet. Until we started playing...no. - Music was always being played in the house, because I've been playing coffee houses and different things since I was 19.
So they would come and listen to me play.
- And it was about six years ago, my mom was playing in coffee houses and I started joining her, and we started playing on each other's music and each other's songs and became a duo then.
- Well the joy for me was I had been playing with different musicians all along at different times.
And then when Madison and I started playing together, I thought, "Whoa, what is this?" This is almost like a part of me knew what I wanted to play on the guitar...knew what kind of sound I needed, and he hit it.
No one else nailed it, but he nailed it.
And I just thought, "Man, this is awesome, " and then... - I mean I've always grown up hearing her playing my entire life, so we started blending our voices and it was something really unique that we couldn't really find from other artists.
Daisy Jane, in a bridal veil And her black shoes in the mud
She's got a one track mind And a crooked spine
And I heard it runs in the blood
In the blood (in the blood) In the blood (in the blood)
In that blood, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
I said, in the blood (in the blood)
In the blood (in the blood)
In that blood, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Daisy Jane, in a chocolate field
In a seven dollar wedding gown
She's got a Ma and Pa that don't recall
Where she got the gown Where she got the gown
She got that gown (got the gown)
Got that gown, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
And did she pay for the gown? (got the gown)
She got that gown (got the gown)
Got that gown, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Did she pay for the gown? (got the gown)
She got that gown (got the gown)
Got that gown, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Where'd she get the gown? (got the gown)
She got that gown (got the gown)
Got that gown, oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh, yeah
- I always had hoped... I mean did you? - Never saw this coming.
I'm glad it came, but never saw this coming.
- Yeah it's been more than we could ever ask for, and it's... I always thought that there was something that, some sort of goal we could achieve, hopefully, and I thought we had something sort of special that we could share with people, but I didn't know how far it would go.
So the last six months, it's been pretty, it's been a whirlwind.
The record is called Skeleton Crew and it's sort of just like an organic stripped down album that kind of sticks with the nature of what we've always done in coffee houses and...it's our first full-length record we've ever been able to put out, and we are real happy with it.
Jim Abiss produced it, who's probably one of our best friends now, we just, we love Jim.
- I don't know if you all have children, but the joy of having a child is incredible, it's undescribable, and that's how I felt with this album - And the baby's doing okay... - He's keepin' us up at night.
- ...weighing a little under an ounce or two... How bout we just sing forever?
Bring your hands, close together
Baby, baby,
When you talk they call you liar
Sure don't know, join the choir
Baby, baby
Silent movies make more money
So how 'bout we make more money, girl?
When you dance they call you funny
So how bout we get real funny, girl?
Say whoa whoa girl
How bout we just sing forever?
Bring your hands, close together
Baby, baby,
When you talk they call you liar
Sure don't know, join the choir
Baby, baby,
Silent movies make more money
So how bout we make more money, girl?
When you dance they call you funny
So how 'bout we get real funny, girl?
Say whoa whoa girl Said whoa, whoa girl

Artist Bio

Real Bio: Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear consists of Madisen Ward; and Ruth Ward. They are a modern soulful/folk music duo. Performing mostly all original written music in various coffee houses, for anyone who will listen.

Fake Bio: Madisen Ward grew up in a haunted farmhouse in the late 1800s; surviving on only Robins eggs and cactus milk. He plays music mostly to forget about his rotten past as a blind matador. Ruthie 'Mama Bear' Ward was a 14th century opera singer; burning wicker chairs in the fire place of her living quarters. She only performs music to get revenge on the murderer of the Renaissance Era.

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Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear

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