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Mother-son duo makes sweet, soulful music
The family that plays together stays together, they say.
And literally in the case of Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear.
The Kansas City duo is comprised of the 27-year-old singer-songwriter and his mother, Ruth Ward, a musical association that dates back to her days performing on local coffee houses and folk clubs. "Madison started playing when he was a junior or senior in high school, and he was coming out to hear me and started writing songs," mama Ward says by phone from a tour stop in Phoenix. "And I would say, 'Well, I'm going to take a break, and while I'm doing that you come up and let people here what you've written.
"People really started to enjoy what he wrote and we just naturally started playing music together and it just kind of evolved from there."
The younger Ward, meanwhile, says that there's nothing uncool about making music with your mother.
"I just liked what we were making, music-wise together," he says. "Every song we would play together, I liked the way it sounded. I've played with other people before, which was just OK. But every time we played together I just realized there's a lot of depth in what we could create, just the two of us.
"So it was less a decision and more an organic evolution. We just started to have fun and kept it going."
That decision has taken the Wards worldwide thanks to the release earlier this year of their debut album, "Skeleton Crew," which also earned them entree to TV ("...Later with Jools Holland" in the U.K.) and festivals such as ?? and South By Southwest. Toto, we're not in Kansas (City) anymore.
"We couldn't be happier with the way things have been going this year," the younger Ward says. "It's so much more than we could've asked for. When we first started playing together I knew what we were doing was interesting and kinda special, but I wasn't sure how far it would good. It's still pretty early on, but what we both told each other was we wanted to just kind of keep going and try to pursue it as a real career. We're definitely there."
Mama Bear concurs. "I'm living a dream life I never would have dreamt in a million years, and our lives are no longer the same," she says. "And it's great."
Madisen Ward & Mama Bear and Firekid
Thursday, Oct. 29. Doors open at 7 p.m.
The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Tickets are $15.
Call 248-540-3030 or visit www.themagicbag.com.
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