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Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 67.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily
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ZZ Ward funnels white-hot passion into cool, modern blues
To the extremes
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With an effortless swagger and a novel blend of blues and hip-hop, ZZ Ward is one of the coolest new artists on the pop-music scene. Even Mother Nature wants to get in on the action as the performer's Last Love Tour makes its way across the country. It stops at the Majestic Theatre on Friday, March 21.

"It's been very cold!" Ward says, laughing. "I don't think I've ever done a tour where it's been this cold."

But the frosty weather she has experienced throughout the east and northeast has done nothing to dampen her spirits. Since she first made a splash at South by Southwest in 2012, her fans' support has been a source of warmth.

"My fans never let me down," Ward says. "They always show up ready to party. It makes it really easy for us [performers] when people are coming out and having a good time."

Ward has been on fire since she released her debut full-length album, Til the Casket Drops, in October 2012. She has headlined several tours, appeared at multiple festivals, and performed on such talk shows as Good Morning America and Conan. The album's first single, "Put the Gun Down," exploded on college radio stations and the Billboard alternative chart. Her third single, the bluesy ballad "Last Love Song," has appeared on several charts as well.

Featuring R&B, rock and neo-soul influences, Casket is sultry and seductive one minute, fiery and defiant the next. With her raspy, honey-smoked vocals, Ward injects white-hot passion into her songs. She believed her album could have a good run, but to actually see it happen has been gratifying.

"It does seem like a hard journey when you're working at it for a long time, but I was always confident that people would like my music," Ward says. "I really put the time and effort into it. It was important to me to write songs that were real and sincerely reflected the feelings of what was going on in my life. I think that resonates in the record."

Candid and compelling, Ward's comments are almost as refreshing as her songs. Luckily, her concert should include some of both.

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