On the evening of March 4, ZZ Ward came home. The lauded blues singer, who hails from Roseburg and is proud of her Oregon origins, made her return to Portland on the Wonder Ballroom stage after recent shows last summer at Revolution Hall, as well as a previous stop at the 2016 Waterfront Blues Fest.
Ward, who just recently delivered her second full-length record, The Storm, treated a sold-out Wonder to cuts off not only her new record, but from her 2012 debut, 'Til the Casket Drops, as well as selections from her Eleven Roses mixtape and a track from her Love and War EP. In the middle of her set, Ward recounted her time growing up in Oregon, telling of when her father would take her out to a blues bar in Eugene to perform.
“I grew up with the blues,” Ward said. “I would sign up to sing the blues with all of these incredible musicians. And I remember I would always sign up to sing ‘Let the Good Times Roll.’ It was such an incredible experience.”
In honor of her roots and influences, Ward treated the crowd to a cover of her favorite blues song, “Grinnin’ In Your Face” by Son House. With a set stuffed with over 20 songs, Ward left the Wonder Ballroom crowd satisfied but surely hungry for more. With The Storm making its impact not only on fans of blues, but on pop lovers alike, hopefully it won’t be too much of a wait for her next homecoming. — Brendan Swogger