Singer-songwriter Gordon Thomas Ward, aka “New Jersey’s Troubadour,” just dropped an EP, Providence. It’s a foretaste of the full-length album of the same name, slated to drop August 2018. Thematically, Providence speaks to the transient beauty and vicissitudes of life.
Recorded at Charlestown Studios in Hampton, New Jersey, Providence was co-produced by Eric Troyer, keyboardist and vocalist of ELO II. Musicians appearing on the EP include Mik Kaminski, violinist for the Electric Light Orchestra, along with other celebrity musicians.
Ward’s sound blends modern folk rock, adult alternative music, and Americana with whiffs of country flavors. He performed “How Many More?” at the 5th National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence at St. Marks Church in Washington, D.C., sharing the stage with Natalie Merchant.
Providence EP comprises five tracks. “Acadia Lament – Names Into Stone” opens with a delicate violin, followed by an elegant acoustic guitar. The violin assumes control, streaming crystalline hues, flowing and drifting on gossamer filaments. The violin subsides and the music changes shape, flowing into a buff folk rock number riding a driving rhythm and fierce electric guitar.
“Destiny” is a SoCal soft rock tune flavored with suggestions of country. A drawling steel guitar infuses the music with wistful colors. Ward’s rich tenor complements the gentle aroma of the song. A rumbling bass and marvelous drumming carry the rhythm. “Just One More” features an upbeat folk vibe full of mellow guitar pigments accented with bright, twinkling tones. Ward’s voice takes on a heightened resonance, providing warm surfaces reminiscent of Peter, Paul and Mary.
“The Horseman” rides a swampy, bluesy tune, twangy and oozing, as the violin appends strident piercing tangs of urgency. Ward’s voice is dark and full of ominous timbres, augmenting the sonic insistence of the music. “One Kiss” exudes gentle, spangly colors carried with a folk rock-lite feel reminiscent of Harry Chapin. Graceful strings complement the fluid piano, as Ward’s affluent voice tells the story of a single kiss.
With the Providence EP, Gordon Thomas Ward exhibits his mastery of eloquent lyrics and musical storytelling. The songs emanate exquisite colors, captivating rhythms, and Ward’s enchanting voice. This is a beautifully wrought EP.