_Autumn de Wilde_

Singer-songwriter M. Ward has released a surprise new album, What a Wonderful Industry, following up his 2016 solo effort More Rain (Ward also released Christmas Party with She & Him collaborator Zooey Deschanel later that year).

The new record includes two tracks featuring My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James (“Miracle Man” and “Bobby”), who also collaborated with Ward in the short-lived indie supergroup Monsters of Folk.

“This is a record inspired by people in the industry I have known—heroes and villains in equal measure,” Ward says in a release. “There’s some beautiful moments when you travel for a living, and I’m grateful for being part of an industry that’s taken me around the world so many times—but you quickly learn there’s a perfectly imperfect balance of cold-blooded and warm-blooded animals in the zoo. This record visits the most memorable characters. There’s a lot of very inspirational people I’ve had the pleasure to work with but there are also a few I wish I’d never met. It all tragically ends with an imaginary Griffin Mill-inspired murder ballad. This album is a reminder to keep your friends close, your enemies closer and don’t let the ones that just need an extra couple hours of therapy bring you down. Anyway I hope you like it. All names have been changed to protect the innocent.”

Ward is currently on tour leg in support of The Decemberists, and the two acts will play at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park next week on June 13. See Ward’s full schedule here and listen to What a Wonderful Industry below.