Life Drawing

Life Drawing (2019)

Recorded over the last year in Suffolk, the CD has been mastered in London and includes an 8-page booklet with photos, sleeve notes and full lyrics.  Life Drawing follows John’s acclaimed 2016 album, Sargasso, and features his excellent band and some favourite guest musicians.  Drawing on the lives of people he has met on his travels, his own family and the testing times in which we live, the album explores themes such as the language of love through music and art, hope overcoming adversity, the solace of singing together, escape from entrapment and the triumph of love, amongst other subjects.

" ... another very strong album from John Ward and the hardest thing about writing this review has been trying not to repeat all the superlatives I used up with 2016's Sargasso. More fine songwriting, more great playing, more excellent recording and most importantly, a really good listen." -- Fatea

"John Ward serves us a wryly observed collection of folk tunes for a modern generation ... Ward excels at the tender and intimate too especially on the heart-rending When at Last The War Was Done, its understated string quartet used brilliantly to subtly underscore the emotion" -- RnR Magazine

"Magnificent songs ... killer harmonies" -- Stephen Foster, BBC Radio Suffolk

"Seek out a copy. You won't be disappointed." Tony Bell, Grapevine

Full review by Paul Jackson of FATEA >>

  • Watching Old Faces Grow Young
  • The Stanford Arms
  • Jack the Lad
  • Love's Eternal Triangle/Black is the Colour
  • Human Statue
  • Carla Stranded on the Cape
  • I'm Ready When You Are
  • When at Last the War was Done
  • Beyond the Waterline
  • Free World Market Place
  • Celebrity
  • I See Land
  • Here Comes Hope

Sargasso (2016)
John’s 7th album features his regular live band throughout playing songs that are drawn from his concert repertoire. The styles, as ever, are diverse but are glued together by that band sound and the subject matter ranges through oceans, mountains and soil, children, parents, the present and the good old days, injustice, gold miners, climate change and stewardship.  A strong feature are the harmonies from the 4 singers and the instrumentation is wide; Stephen Mynott - guitar, Les Woodley – double bass, mandolin, Andy Marr, cajon, percussion, Lynne Ward – recorder, whistles and John on a variety of instruments. Guests: Mario Price - violin, Ian Sainsbury - piano, Richard Hubbard - squeezebox.

  • Hammer And A Saw
  • Pass It On
  • Adrift
  • The Right Hon. MP for Self-Interest...
  • Pull the Ladder Up
  • The Good Old Days Are Here

  • Careless Days
  • Miners
  • How High the Tide
  • Hard Times
  • A Long Way Home
  • Let Me Be Your Ship

East of the Sunrise (2011)
John’s 6th album, released in the spring of 2011, is a collection of songs inspired by and from John’s home area, the Waveney, Yare and Blyth Valleys. This eastern fringe of England is both naturally beautiful and industrial at the same time and the songs here, mostly original but with some traditional, aim to capture the atmosphere and some of the characters of the area. Probably his most folky album, simpler in its arrangements, nevertheless still features the violin excellence of Mario Price and other guest musicians on some of the tracks, most notably, Ian Sainsbury on piano and John’s wife Lynne on harmonies. The 14 tracks include live favourites such as Stornoway to Lowestoft, Dunwich (The Lost City), Yarmouth Town and Ashore. The 8- page booklet contains all the lyrics.

  • Waiting for the Wind
  • Dunwich (The Lost City)
  • Stornoway to Lowestoft
  • Windy Old Weather /Joe at the Tavern
  • Ashore
  • Yarmouth Town
  • Yarmouth Hornpipes
  • The Days Slip Away
  • The Ebb and the Flow
  • So the Seasons Change
  • The Lowestoft Ness Monster
  • The Worst Old Ship
  • Station Square
  • The Last Resort

Praying for the Alien (2008)
Recorded in stages between late 2006 and early 2008, it contains 14 songs written by John that touch on a mixture of themes, from his travels in America and Europe, fatherhood and his experiences as a gigging musician. Bound Together concerns the fragility of our unique planet, while Praying For The Alien is a wry comment on the humanity that binds us, not what sets us apart. Mario Price plays oustanding violin as ever and Ian Sainsbury's piano is once again stunning and subtle. Other fine musicians contribute to the very acoustic, slightly simpler sound than the previous album Common Ground. There is also a Hungarian instrumental which has become a strong favourite of John and Mario's live performances.
  • Welcome
  • Back To Tomorrow
  • Autumn
  • Winter Light
  • Counting The Days Down
  • Kick Off Your Shoes
  • Slow Burn
  • Communication Breakdown
  • Praying For The Alien
  • Waiting For The Rain
  • Bound Together
  • Fall Like A Child
  • It's Not Dark
  • Frame Around My Heart
  • Czardas (Instrumental)

Common Ground (2005)
Common Ground, released in 2005, is John’s fourth album and contains 13 original songs, plus 2 of his foot-stomping instrumentals. John plays many of the instruments himself with his regular musical partner Mario Price featuring on violin, and a select band of other musicians, including Ian Sainsbury (piano), who co-wrote 2 of the songs. The album comprises a variety of musical styles (folk rock, eastern European, country), textures and tempos his audience have come to expect with sophisticated arrangements and great playing from the band.
  • Big Ships
  • Something's Got To Give
  • Old Habits Die Hard
  • Dead Wood Down
  • Love's Greatest Adventure
  • Love's Moment Untaken
  • Songs Of Teenage Angst And Love Written By Middle Aged Men
  • Sacred Places
  • Common Ground
  • If You Want To Know About War (Ask A Soldier)
  • Leaving Without Leaving
  • Too Much Month At The End Of The Money
  • Spring (In Spite Of Everything)
  • Melting Pot (Instrumental)
  • Caught By The Cossacks (Instrumental)

Waking Dreams (1998)
Waking Dreams was recorded between April and October 1998 and has a more mainstream feel than the previous 2 albums, while still maintaining a strong acoustic sound. Many of the tracks feature a band of outstanding musicians in their own right. The songs were written over a number of years and were selected for their popularity at gigs and for their ability to enhance the general thread of the album. The album has a very wide variety of styles and moods, and is therefore difficult to categorise.
  • Intro
  • Roll Away The Stone
  • Mountains Turned To Mist
  • The Spirit Of The Times
  • The Great Spirit
  • The Silver Thread And The Thin Green Line
  • The Long Small Hours
  • Home Town Fame
  • Spread The Load Out
  • Lay Me Low
  • What Have You Got (If You Ain't Got Time)
  • Born For Better Things
  • The Secret Life of Monica Jarvis
  • The Glass Ark
  • You Got Me (And All I've Got Is You)
  • Making Up For Lost Time

Water on the Stone(1992)
Water On The Stone, released in 1992, was recorded using entirely acoustic instrumentation and sounds featuring guitars, double bass, violin, hurdy gurdy, bodhran and piano. While maintaining some of the simplicity of The Shrinking World, its arrangements are nevertheless more complex. Several of the songs are still favourites of John's live set.
  • Water On The Stone
  • The Free World Market Place
  • The Paper Chase
  • Stoney Ground
  • Heart Of The Town
  • Statue
  • I Want To See Your Face/Banks Of Ireland
  • The Leakin' Minister (re) Shuffle
  • Rural Vandals
  • Must I Go Bound
  • Way Of The World
  • The Only Treasure
  • The Binding Light

The Shrinking World (1988)
John's first album, released in 1988, has a very folky feel. Several of the songs feature John solo with his acoustic guitar and are journalistic in content, dealing with the issues of the time. Other tracks have piano, percussion and John on bass guitar. It is currently only available on vinyl - currently back in fashion.
  • Man Of Destiny
  • How Many Ships?
  • The Shrinking World
  • Dallastry Brookenders Street Blues
  • My Love Lies A Thousand Miles Away
  • Dogs On The Rocks?
  • When Will The Circle Be Broken?
  • Blood Of The World
  • Eve
  • The Fields Of Youth
  • I Won't Be Blinded To The Beauty

Wake Up - Various Artists
Shipyards, the song that John contributed to this compilation album, was written about the demise of the shipyards in his hometown and based on the experiences of an acquaintance who worked in them. The track features John and Mario Price and all proceeds of the sales of the album go to the Liverpool Dockers' Hardship Fund.
  • Levi Stubbs' Tear - The Redskins
  • A Change Is Gonna Come - Billy Bragg
  • This Fragile Life - The Neurotics
  • Garageland - Billy Bragg With Wiggy, The Neurotics and Attila The Stockbroker
  • All Smiles - Kevin Seisay
  • 40 Years - Attila The Stockbroker
  • The Line - The Men They Couldn't Hang
  • Barricades - Robb Johnson
  • Island - Wob
  • The Days Slip Away - John Ward
  • Problem - Clownhouse

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