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 Scott Cook. 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.
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.
In Spring 2023, Mike released 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.
Mike performs across the state of Michigan and has been hosted at small venues and house shows from Milwaukee to Kansas City, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio and New York. Some notable venues are Wheatland Folk Festival, FARM DJ Showcase, Thumbfest, HollerFest, Thunder Bay Folk Fest, Trinity House Theatre, Wiltsie’s, Michigan State Fair, FolkNet, Cleveland OH, On The Tracks Series-Chelsea Depot, Coffee House Milwaukee, Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn, NY, Over Yonder House Concerts,Toledo, Ohio, Wesley’s Place, LaGrange, IL, Music at The Gazebo House Concert Series, Farmhouse Folk, PJ’s Lager House, North Star Lounge, Ann Arbor, MI, Fitzgerald’s Side Bar, Berwyn, IL and WFMT FolkStage, Chicago, IL
-Honorable Mention 2023 Telluride Troubadour Songwriting Competition
-2023 Finalist - Detroit Music Awards for Outstanding Americana Recording
and Outstanding Songwriter
-DJ Showcase 2022 Folk Alliance Region Midwest (FARM) introduced by Marilyn Rae Beyer,
The Midnight Special WFMT 98.7FM
-Finalist & Honorable Mention - 2022 Great River Folk Festival Songwriting Contest
-The Darkness and The Light reached #33 on FAI Folk DJ Charts | Detroit Music Awards Finalist Songwriter
-We Wonder named Best Folk Album of 2019 by Phil Maq of WHFR 89.3FM
RADIO, STREAMING & PODCASTS
Music My Mother Would Not Like (Bruce Swan and Louise Baker), Folk Project New Jersey, Ron Olesko’s Folk Music Notebook Shelter in Place Showcase, Jon Stein’s Hootenanny Cafe Showcase, John Bommarito’s Acoustic Alternatives, Charlie’s Open Mic Acoustic Showcase with Charlie Mosbrook and The Stratton Setlist