Gordon Thomas Ward is taking a cool step forward with promoting the release of his upcoming full-length album, Providence. Wherein many singer-songwriters choose to deliver soundbites in the form of social media snippets and the occasional single release leading up to their LP release, the New Jersey Troubadour is instead releasing five tracks ahead of time, and all together. They’re packaged in an EP of the same name, providing a deeper look into Ward’s vision with his forthcoming release all at once. Given the clear attention to precision and density that the artist has paid to these arrangements, especially, this is a delectable first dive into Providence’s impending bigger picture.
In many ways, Ward’s billing as a folk artist feels correct. His lilting, forthright vocal delivery paves the way for storytelling without frills or hitches, feeling instantly inviting and universally palatable—something like a shoulder to lean on. When he picks up the acoustic guitar on songs like ‘Destiny’ and ‘Just One More’, too, he’s hitting par for the course along the lines of Taylor Goldsmith and Joan Baez, respectively. Albeit, there’s something more to it than that, and it’s in the way he carries his timbre on blues-infused rockers like ‘The Horseman’ or crafts a compelling opening composition with ‘Acadia Lament – Names into Stones’ that it proves true.
At the end of the day, “New Jersey’s troubadour” is one heck of a way to put it. Songwriting of a quality similar to Ward’s often feels lost to the 60s Greenwich scene, and yet he’s here today to help prove that its heart’s still beating. Sonically tucked somewhere between CCR and Peter, Paul, and Mary, you’ll more than likely feel immediately at home with Ward’s Providence EP if you’re reading this piece on this particular blog.