Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Jake Ward, an artist we’ve delved into in a significant capacity since first featuring him here on the website in October of 2015. The Texas-based country performer has proven himself a versatile songwriter, especially when collaborating with his cousin, Kris Bergsnes, and he’s yet to have a release that wasn’t marvelously produced. Now, Ward’s anticipated sophomore album is on the horizon, and ahead of it, a new single called ‘Restless' has been released.
‘Restless’ was co-written by Bergsnes and Ben Pleasanton, a friend of Ward’s. “I wanted a great summer tune about wanderlust and falling in love with someone who was the same way,” Ward mused about his newest single. He’s certainly accomplished conjuring that type of atmosphere: ‘Restless’ is the kind of song that’ll perfectly score your summer season. Its anthemic, sing-along nature is ideal for blaring stereos and outdoor events this season.
In this vein, the song is simplistic in nature, but fortunately, avoids devolving into cliche. That’s accomplished primarily by the personality that Ward brings to his performance. He’s got a terrific voice, one that isn’t over-the-top twangy like some country vocalists in today’s music industry. No, Ward’s voice just sounds natural. The superb backing band on ‘Restless’ rounds out the song masterfully, too, with particularly excellent performances from the fiddler and drummer.
There’s also no denying that ‘Restless’ is perfect for radio. It’s good, clean fun in a snappy three minute package. As always, whoever produced Ward did a fantastic job with this single. It’s finely tuned with each instrument highlighted wonderfully in the soundscape, all while avoiding sounding too sterile or polished. There’s a rambunctious youthfulness to ‘Restless,’ which, of course, is a good thing, considering that’s ultimately what the song is all about.
‘Restless’ is on all major digital music platforms now; give it a spin if you’re a country music fan seeking a new independent artist to add to your library of tunes. Ward is worth your time. His pop sensibility allows him to walk alongside contemporary country artists while feeling intensely more authentic than most of them. The song is also a good early indication of Ward’s second album being one to mark your calendar for, too! (He hasn’t announced it yet, so stay tuned to his website for updates.)