Kansas City-based favorites Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear have done it again with their new release, a delightful full-length titled Started With a Family, which — to their credit — it did entirely. And they’ve packed it to the brim with their signature robust, at times raspy, and beautiful vocal harmonies. “Saturday Morning Cartoons” opens the collection, beginning with a beautiful sentiment of current and future happiness. But hang on through to the end and you will either be slightly disturbed or just completely worried about your future. Nonetheless, they speak truth and continue to do so through slower second track “Hell Better Make Room”. “Never Met a Mutha” begins with a soundscape similar to Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”, however it blossoms into a folk song that seems to be a testament to Mama Bear, though it could be easily applied elsewhere.
“Botticelli” slows things down again, a bit of a detached option from the relatable side of things. “Back to the North” has an interesting melody, prepping us for the more intricate “Started With a Family”, in which Madisen Ward addresses his family specifically. It’s simple, beautiful, and elegant in a way. Stemming from it is “Guts n Glory”, a bit more graphic than its predecessors, however still very relaxing in its disposition. “Crackle Lyn Wood” possesses both a clever name and a beautiful video, which can be seen below.
“Lightning Kids” holds its spot as the second to last track on this incredible folk album. It doesn’t have quite the pace we expected for having the term “lightning” in the title, but also leaves a lasting impression with its introspective lyrical content. The duo rounds the album out wonderfully with “Little Mountain”, showcasing Mama Bear’s (Ruth Ward) timeless, heartbreaking vocals. That packs a powerful punch, and we’re going to go ahead and hit “repeat” for a while.
Keep up with Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear here.