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Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear performs a secret show at recordBar





Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear performs a secret show at recordBar

(Photos by Todd Zimmer)
 
Last night, Madisen Ward and his mother Ruth turned down the lights at recordBar to play their songs to around 50 friends, relatives, and members of the KC music community. A few short months ago, an intimate dinner performance to a moderate crowd would have been the norm for Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear. Now, one of the best-kept musical secrets in the region is being recognized around the country; last night’s performance was unannounced and mostly by invitation. It was the duo’s first Kansas City show since opening up for B.B. King at The Midland on October 1.
 
 
The two performed about 45 minutes of new and existing material; according to Madisen, the final song of the evening, "Little Barrel," was just written last Friday. This set captured every aspect of why MW&MB has become the object of so many musical affections. Madisen Ward can write tunes that sound more seasoned than someone of his age should be able to do. Along with it, his vocal styling demands attention, ranging from serenely soulful to ardent and impassioned. Ruth Ward plays guitar effortlessly, as though it’s an extension of herself, and sings each note from deep within. The connection they share—both musically and as mother and son—comes through with the genuine delivery of each song.
 
 
 
Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear were recently signed to Glassnote Records, adding their name to a professional caliber that includes Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, and Childish Gambino. The duo attracted attention from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste, and NPR after playing an exclusive showcase at Third Man Records for the Americana Music Fest in September, only a couple weeks after performing to a capacity crowd at Crossroads Music Fest in Kansas City. They plan to record and release an album with Glassnote in 2015.
 
 
For more photos from last night’s performance, visit Zimmer’s Flickr album.
 
--Michelle Bacon
 
Michelle is editor of The Deli KC, a staff member for Midwest Music Foundation and Folk Alliance International, and plays in The Philistines, Dolls on Fire, and Drew Black & Dirty Electric.
 
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