Reverend Marv Ward Launches First Book of Poetry

One Lone Minstrel cover photo.jpg

It’s no secret that singer-songwriter, Marv Ward, a staple on the local music scene, aka Reverend Marv, has many tricks up his sleeve, and given his penchant for evocative lyrics it’s no surprise to find that poetry is among them.

On Wednesday night, June 21st, Ward launches his first book of poetry, One Lone Minstrel, under the Broad River Books label, an imprint of Muddy Ford Press, at Grapes and Gallery at 1113 Taylor Street, near the intersection of Taylor and Assembly. The event will begin at 6 pm with a reception honoring the author, followed by readings from 6:30 – 7. Ward will sign books form 7 – 8. Light refreshments will be provided with drinks available for purchase from the upstairs selection of wines and craft beers. The event is free.

Jasper caught up with Ward to ask a few questions about the path to this place in time.

 

J: Congratulations on your new book, Marv! How long have you been writing poetry?

MW: I’ve been seriously writing since high school.

 

J: Other than in songwriting have you shared your poetry with anyone before?

MW: Well, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, I was into writing poetry on walls and fences so I guess some people saw them but this is the first time anything has been in print.

 

J: Where do you look for inspiration?

MW: From everything, life experiences mainly. In the blues the old timers say that you have to live the blues to be able to write it and sing it and my poetry is the same.

 

J: Do you edit and rewrite your poems or do they come to you fully formed and you leave them be once they come to you?

MW: Both. Some times, I will get an idea or phrase and it will germinate sometimes for years until it finally comes to fruition. But sometimes they just write themselves.

 

J:  Who are some of your favorite poets and what is it you like about them?

MW: My biggest influence in poetry is Lawrence Ferlinghetti, I have devoured his work ever since I discovered him and was fortunate enough to meet him back in the early ‘70s and have a little chat with him. Then, I guess, Yeats, Baudelaire, Neruda, and I like Kerouac's poetry also.

 

J: How does it feel to launch this book?

MW:  I am amazed and feel so blessed this is a life accomplishment for me. I have had songs published since the ‘70s, but the poetry was different and I never thought this day would come. I really hope that those who read it will be able find a correlation in their lives with the meaning and rhythm of the words and be able to share the magic I felt when writing them.  

 

 

Author, Marv Ward

Author, Marv Ward

Art in Action: Noah Brock -- Art and Rummage Sale for Sister Care

 

Whether we’ve had to fulfill requirements for an honor society, pad a resume, or to try to convince the world that the Greek system is something other than a primal dating industry, most of today’s twenty-somethings have had some experience with volunteer work.  The catch is, well, that there’s typically a catch.  We pervert altruism into a self-serving mode of academic, professional, and/or social advancement.  In short, we’re in it for the commemorative t-shirt.

Thankfully, this generalization doesn’t always hold water.  Case and point: Noah Brock.  This local musician admits that “there is little to no glamour in [his] life.”  He lives modestly with his wife and puggle (a pug/beagle mix) in a rented house behind a fire extinguisher refilling plant.  Though Noah disagrees, he’s done something rather noteworthy; he has organized an Art Show and Rummage Sale to raise money for and awareness of Sister Care, a local charity organization benefitting women and children who have fallen victim to domestic abuse.  Sadly, the question that comes to mind is: why?  What motivated Noah to organize such an event?  When I asked him, he responded with a refreshingly candid, “I can’t really say.”  To me, this inability or unwillingness to rationalize his charity reveals an unadulterated innocence of intention.  He’s not in it for self-flattery or politics; he quite simply wants to use Columbia’s vibrant arts community as a vehicle to fundraise and promote “a great charity that is sometimes overlooked.”

Noah’s fundraiser is to take place this Saturday (6/16) from 10 am to 5 pm at Conundrum Music Hall (626 Meeting St., West Columbia).  The event will include: live acoustic music from Alderman Douglas, Hope Clayton Cullum, Marv Ward, and The Dubber; a raffle ($2 per ticket) featuring prizes from local West Columbia businesses Bug Outfitters, Sun Spirit Yoga, and Scratch and Spin Records; beer and soda will be sold by Conundrum (no outside alcohol permitted), and KC Hot Dogs will be vending.  Admission for this event is $3, and anyone interested in setting up a table or booth for the rummage sale can do so for $5.  All proceeds from the door, table fees, and raffle tickets will go directly to Sister Care.

“There are certain things no one should ignore,” Noah told me.  Battered women and children certainly fall into that category.  So, too, do those folks like Noah who remind the rest of us to pay attention.  So this Saturday, pay attention.  Come to Conundrum, support a great local cause, and pay Noah a compliment he will likely dismiss.

 

-- Austin Blaze, intern, Jasper Magazine

Record Review: Rev. Marv Ward - I Should Know Better

While we here at Jasper have been doing (what we believe to be) a great job covering a wide variety of arts activities throughout our fair city, one thing that has been lacking has been more frequent updates on the amazing quality and variety of local music releases over the last 10 months or so we’ve been active, which is something we’d like to change, starting with a rather under-appreciated aspect of the Columbia’s music scene: the blues.

While not the most blues-associated city in the world, Columbia definitely has a few blues-related things to be proud of: Word of Mouth Production’s annual blues festival in MLK Park, weekly jam sessions at Mac on Main’s, and Clair de Lune’s Blues Moon radio show on WUSC, just to name a few. Another highlight of the scene is Rev. Marv Ward, a longtime blues guitarist and songwriter who plays continually around the city. Earlier this year he released I Should  Know Better, just his third solo album since he started out professionally as a songwriter in the 70s. Ward got his start early as a guitar player in a variety of blues and rock and roll bands, and over the years has shared stages with the likes of John Hammond, Dave Van Ronk, Big Bill Morganfield (son of the great Muddy Waters), and Aerosmith, and this collection actually includes unrecorded songs from throughout his long musical career.

Despite the star power of his past, these days Ward is more comfortable hanging with a talented group of local musicians. Recorded at the venerable Jam Room, Ward’s core backing band for the record included longtime scene members bassist Mike Mahoney and Vic Scaricamazza on the drums, along with frequent contributions from harmonica player Mike Fore, slide guitarist Rusty Davis, and mandolin from Steve Bennett. Ward also makes harmony singers Jenn McCallister and May Kirby central to the record’s sound, particularly on the girl group/beach music-heavy tune “Ridin’ on the Daydream.” Two other musical kindred spirits from the scene, Bentz Kirby (Alien Carnival) and David Hane (Devils in Disguise), trade verses on the final cut, the classic country-inspired “Tennessee Whiskey.”

The record opens with four tunes that are in the center of Ward’s wheelhouse, all of which make use of classic blues structures and the veteran guitarist’s effortless lead work. Ward’s approach has always been a laid-back mish-mash of styles, but here he seems to square in on a John Hiatt-meets-Muddy Waters vibe that fits perfectly with his more conservative blues tunes. The second half of the record, as if to apologize for the more straightforward (although uniformly strong)   opening, sees Ward stretching his legs quite a bit. The title cut takes a Buddy Holly rhythm and far more overt R&B vibe than anything that came before it, and from there Ward includes a trio of English folk and Celtic-influenced tunes (“Wallflower,” “Dance of Kindred Spirits,” and “Come Down to the River”), the California country-rock of “Virginia,” and the aforementioned “Ridin’ on the Daydream” and “Tennessee Whiskey.” Ward even throws in a twist on a classic blues conceit with his boomer-come-hither tune “Come Over,” which takes the genre’s love of ridiculous metaphors (“if you got the cheese, baby, I got the wine”) into near-Spinal Tap territory.  Even if you are tempted to laugh, though, the song is saved by a ridiculously good hard rock riff and the fact that Ward can, well, play.

In fact, throughout the record (and despite the numerous guest instrumentalists and vocalists), Ward’s consistency as a vocalist, guitar player, and songwriter never falters. His playing rarely lets you forget he is a blues player at heart, but traces of such unlikely influences as Jerry Garcia and Neil Young seem to pop up, even though he tends to more concise and structured solos than either. As a songwriter, his rather humble approach to the long legacy of the styles he works with balances originality and homage in a way that many contemporary blues musicians often find difficult.

Having said all that, the most important thing to remember about Ward’s record is that it’s been made largely a document of the songs he likes to write and perform, and for the relatively small audience of South Carolinians who either already know his music well or who tend to gravitate to more laid-back roots music styles anyway. That it is so often remarkable is almost beside the point—which really makes it all the more remarkable.

- Kyle Petersen

Contact Kyle at KPetersen@JasperColumbia.com