One listen to Kristen Ward’s first album, 2006′s Roll Me On, and you might think that that smoky voice and those anguished lyrics come from a woman whose spent years in the game of music and love. But Ward is only 23 years old. She originally launched a career as a chef in Paris, and only focused on being a professional musician in the last two or three years.
“I came back [from Paris] with absolutely not a shred of training at all in the arts or music,” she admits. Ward’s musical roots actually go back to her childhood in Spokane, where her mother sang with a country western band. “We always had musicians around the house,” she says. ” I was always inspired.” Her own music takes a twist on her bluegrass beginnings. “It’s rootsy. It’s rock and roll with kind of a lonely Western sound,” she says enthusiastically. “It’s groove-driven, sultry, sexy music.”
Ward’s artistic abilities don’t end with music, which she proved when she rolled up her sleeves and painted our shoot’s drooping flowers house paint. In fact, sales of her paintings a Ballard’s Art Walk funded the recording of “Roll Me On”. “[Music and painting] both have been sort of fearless endeavors,” she says. “I’ve said,’I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’m going to try this.”
While she admits that it’s more difficult to focus once the sun comes out and “this horrible torture winter” finally ends, Ward will hit the studio for a follo-up album in May. “I’ve been going through a really productive streak,” she says. “Things are really starting to snowball a little bit more lately, so that’s been good. It’s a game of inches, just moving forward inch by inch, trying to secure a better spot.”
Rachel Dovey, Sound Seattle Magazine, June 2008