ZZ Ward is admittedly overwhelmed.
The 27-year-old native of Roseburg, Ore., is trying to unwind after her debut at the Coachella Valley Arts and Music Festival last week, but she’s distracted.
Her cute puppy, Muddy -- named after the blues great, of course -- is swimming in the pool at her rented Coachella house as Ward, still dressed in her onstage ensemble (a sparkly romper and her signature fedora) is keeping a close eye on the pup and desperately trying to cool down.
Pop & Hiss was there, helping set up for an acoustic performance.
Though exhausted, Ward was glowing from her earlier Coachella debut. “It all happened so fast. With festivals you don’t get a lot of time,” Ward said, noshing on yogurt. “All of a sudden you’re on and you have to figure it out.”
Her set might have been early in the day, when the blistering heat is at its most unforgiving and fans are slowly pouring in, but she drew a sizable crowd in the Mojave Tent. With a mash of gritty blues, rock, R&B and a taste of hip-hop, Ward might not make for the easiest sell to radio listeners. Her 2012 debut “Til the Casket Drops” was stellar, though slow to catch on.
But her Coachella showing was a reward for the fans, and folks just discovering her, who turned up early. Ward led the crowd in a energetic clap-along with her punchy, rock-edged “365 Days,” turned Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” into a rollicking juke joint groove that included some vicious harmonica playing and pushed the crowd to break a sweat with her fiery breakout hit “Put the Gun Down.”
But she could also still the crowd, bringing things to a hush with her guitar weeper “Last Love Song.”
We asked Ward to save a little of the magic for Pop & Hiss readers and she agreed. Check out exclusive video of her acoustic performance of “Last Love Song” above.
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