Music News & Reviews

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When Eilen Jewell was growing up in Boise, she says she had a sense of wanderlust.

"I always felt like I wanted to leave," Jewell says. "And I remember when I learned the word 'wanderlust,' I felt like I finally had a word to describe myself."

Jewell did wander. She went to college in New Mexico and busked on the streets of Venice Beach. She even went back to Boise — that didn't work out. Next, she tried Boston.

There's sweetness to Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear's music that makes me smile, and then there's so much more. I first saw the Kansas City mother-and-son duo perform last fall in Nashville's Blue Room, a small, perfect-sounding stage at Third Man Records. The bluesy roots of the music suited the space, and the sound — with young Madisen Ward's powerful, quivering voice backed by his mother Ruth — had a homespun feel.

Madisen Ward and his mother, Ruth Ward, haven't been playing together all that long.

"People usually assume that I was three years old, playing on the porch with my mom, with a ukulele or something," says Madisen.

In fact, the two teamed up only about six years ago.

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