Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Grant Johnson at Good Danny's, Austin, Texas
The last song on Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear's debut album, "Skeleton Crew," forms the summary of where Madisen and Ruth Ward had just taken us. We had just taken a tour of troubles that weren't our own, but they felt like ours. This mother-son duo from Kansas City, Missouri, made us feel like those troubles were our kin. We shared whatever the opposite of dimples are with them. The creases and the damaged corners on them were familiar. They felt like worn-in denim, like worn out shoes, like the weight that we'd put on and made our own. The song, "Sorrows and Woes," is coated with the light of a dusk, with the vibrancy of those who are truly alive and thankful for it -- no matter what their problems may be. Madisen Ward sings, "When you were young, you saw the world, as lots of fun, but now it just hurts," right after he had just offered a spectacularly uplifting moment of darkness being overcome with a will to continue living the hell outta life, saying, "You've made mistakes. You've done what you can. And when your legs break, you've still got your hands." With every magical Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear song, you're hard-pressed to not feel as if you've got more to live for and that the brighter side of life just might be at the very end of a long and winding road.
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear Official Site