Detroit singer-songwriter Mike Ward is known for his lyrically-centric, vocally-charged folk songs. While growing up in Port Huron, Michigan, he listened to the Irish music of his heritage and sang in several choirs before digesting the influential sounds of Simon & Garfunkel, Dylan, Springsteen and John Prine. These days, he finds inspiration in the works of Jason Isbell, Sarah Jarosz and John Paul White. His intimate songwriting echoes through empty city streets, back country roads and family portraits. It also resides in the hidden spaces between joy and tragedy, love and loss.
Ward brings a unique perspective to his songwriting after having spent 40 years working in the advertising industry while continuing a lifelong passion for hockey, which resulted in his infamous nickname “PsychoWard.” His debut album, We Wonder, released in 2018, was named “Best Folk Album of 2019” by Phil Maq of 89.3-FM (WHFR).
In 2019, Ward immersed himself into the songwriting community in Detroit as well as Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) and several online groups. This led to an association with David Roof of Rooftop Recording as well as collaborations with some of Michigan’s finest songwriters and musicians who would contribute mightily on his future projects.
Ward released his second album in 2021, "The Darkness and The Light", as a thoughtful way to highlight past struggles, including regret and loss, and champion the need for hope in a changing world. The album landed at #33 on the Folk Alliance International (FAI) folk charts in March 2021 and has been played on the radio internationally.
A year later, Ward dropped "Particles to Pearls", which explores the love of family and the passage of time. In addition to multiple Detroit Music Award recognitions, he received an honorable mention in the Great River Folk Fest Songwriting Contest for the song “Letting Go.” That same year also brought Ward’s sociopolitical EP "Troubled Times" as a bold reminder to raise your voice and chase your freedom. The EP’s three contemplative tracks emphasize protecting individual rights, upholding free speech, and supporting immigration.
This spring, Mike will release his fourth album Love Never Rests, which features 11 introspective tracks that examine observations about life, love and loss along with relationships of the past, present and future. All stories are told through his emotive viewpoints of wisdom and gratitude.
Outside of his releases, Ward performs regularly at small venues, clubs and house shows throughout Michigan, the Midwest, and the East Coast. He’s been on stage at Trinity House Theatre, Wiltsie’s, Lager House, Pete’s Candy Store, Folknet and Over Yonder Concert House.
Mike also performs at notable festivals, including the Wheatland Music Festival, FARM DJ showcases and performance lanes, Nor-East’r Festival, Thumbfest, Holler Fest, Thunder Bay Folk Festival and Soaring Eagle Arts, Beats & Eats.
Finally, Ward has been featured on several radio, podcast and streaming shows such as Ron Olesko’s Folk Music Notebook Shelter in Place Showcase, Jon Stein’s Hootenanny Café Showcase, John Bommarito’s Acoustic Alternatives, Charlie’s Open Mic Acoustic Showcase with Charlie Mosbrook, The Stratton Setlist and Bruce Swan’s Music My Mother Would Not Like.