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KC’s Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear included in Howard Stern’s tribute to the Beatles’ ‘Revolver’

The son-mother folk duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear went into the Black Sea Studio in Kansas City on June 18 with producer Gene Abramov and recorded a an acoustic-folk version of “Yellow Submarine” for a tribute to the Beatles album “Revolver” that radio host Howard Stern commissioned.
The son-mother folk duo Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear went into the Black Sea Studio in Kansas City on June 18 with producer Gene Abramov and recorded a an acoustic-folk version of “Yellow Submarine” for a tribute to the Beatles album “Revolver” that radio host Howard Stern commissioned. kmeyers@kcstar.com

It’s not always who you know. Sometimes, it’s whom the people who know you know.

Case in point: Some people who work for Howard Stern and is Sirius/XM radio show are fans of Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, the son-mother folk duo from Kansas City.

“We went into the SiriusXM studios to perform our cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams,’ and some people from his show were there,” Madison Ward told The Star on Monday. And that led to Ward and his mother, Ruth Ward, recording a track for a tribute to the Beatles’ album “Revolver” that Stern commissioned.

“Howard is a huge Beatles fan, and he thought it would be cool to have different artist cover a song from the album,” Ward said. “ So (the show) hit up a bunch of artists and asked if they wanted to be part of the project, and when they invited us, I said, ‘Most definitely.’ I really wanted to jump on it.”

Ward and his mother went into the Black Sea Studio in Kansas City on June 18 with producer Gene Abramov and recorded a an acoustic-folk version of “Yellow Submarine.”

“By the time it got to us, only a few songs were left,” Ward said. “We picked that song because underneath its surface, it felt like an old folk tale. We wanted to break it down to its bare bones.”

They didn’t stop there. Instead, they sent the song off to Jeremy Messersmith, a singer-songwriter and labelmate on Glassnote Records.

“We’d been wanting to collaborate with him for a while,” Ward said. “After we recorded it, we sent it to him and basically gave him free rein to do whatever he wanted to do with it. Obviously, if it was something completely crazy, we’d have to talk about it.”

Messersmith took the song in a completely different direction and region.

“He put this live Dixieland band on top of it, which gave it this completely crazy, different feel,” Ward said, “We were very happy with it.”

The track grabbed Stern’s attention, too.

“On one of his shows, he was talking about the record after he’d listened to it,” Ward said. “He was like, ‘Who’s the band from New Orleans, the one with the Dixieland feel?’ I was cracking up because I knew he was talking about us. Then he looked it up and was like, ‘Oh. They’re from Missouri.’ 

Other acts on the compilation include Cheap Trick, James Taylor, Jewel, Living Colour, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Dinosaur Jr., the Milk Carton Kids, Joe Bonamassa, O.A.R. and Grace Potter. Stern will debut the album during his Sirius/XM show at 4 p.m. Central on Friday. “Revolver” celebrated its 50th anniversary in August.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

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