I will admit that the first time I saw ZZ Ward’s name, I kind of hoped it would be M. Ward fronting a ZZ Top cover band. I was initially disappointed (Seriously, imagine M. Ward’s interpretation of “Tush.” Intriguing, no?) but after giving Ms. Zsuzsanna Ward a listen, figured it might be worth checking out. While her bluesy, hip-hop informed fare was not necessarily within the confines of what I normally listen to, she’s got a strong voice and a handful of promising songs, so I figured while I may never get to hear one half of She & Him play “La Grange,” this might be alright too.
As I noted, Ward’s voice is obviously the big draw. It’s big and bluesy, at times in the same ballpark as some of the recent crop of British soul revivalists (comparisons to Adele have been made by some), though more often her singing brought to mind Bonnie Raitt.
“I don’t know if you got the vibe from me, but I’m kind of a blues girl,” she said at one point before launching into a Son House cover, adding a bit of grit to her sound, which to my ears, was a little too slick at times. Further evidence of her love of the blues was seen in the harmonica solos that Ward took in the second half of her set. As far as other influences on her songwriting, I take it from her numerous references to a “shitty relationship” with an ex that she subscribes to the Taylor Swift school of songwriting. She at least acknowledges this though, noting as she introduced “Last Love Song” that she felt like she was sick of writing songs about that guy, which inspired her to write another song about how hopefully it will be the last song she’ll write about him. But then again, maybe she won’t. Seriously though, maybe it’s time to move on. To put it in perspective, Alanis only wrote that one song about the guy from Full House. Come on, ZZ. Cut. It. Out.