Lauren Ruth Ward Finds Freedom Through the Hall of ‘Valhalla’

Lauren Ruth Ward's past battle within herself and identity has been rewarded as she finds freedom within the walls of "Valhalla."

The hall of the fallen, as what Valhalla is often referred to at times, is said to house those died in battle that are “worthy” at the will of the god Odin in Norse Mythology. A dream for any Viking to continue the good fight and be restored for eternity. For LA’s Lauren Ruth Ward, her constant battle within herself and identity has been rewarded as she finds freedom within the walls of “Valhalla.”

Taking inspiration from Nordic tales, Ward’s writing is intimate while still managing to polish any rough edges for a glowing sheen of audible enjoyment, alongside co-writer and guitarist Eduardo J. Rivera. Gliding from the aesthetics of folk to a more prominent psychedelic-blues endeavor, “Valhalla” is a deadly execution with a twist of this progression, followed by a signature vocal styling by Ward.

As the sentiments of Ward’s identity breathe into the track’s soundscape, rejuvenation is the next chapter seen on the video.  Alli Coates’ direction twists the perception of roles, more than a gender-bending jab or social commentary, but one of deep retrospection. The opening scene depicts one of a quite aged perception of “masculinity,” featuring Ward and her friends partaking in these traits of gambling and calling for the disrobing of the opposite sex as entertainment. Coates’ pans from simplicity to longing gazes of Ward, getting lost in deep contemplation and what seems to be the past.

“Since moving to LA to pursue music, my songwriting has been pulling the trauma out from me,” states Ward. “Some of that resurrected trauma is coming from having to make lose/lose decisions to get myself to the peaceful state I am present day. I died many times in my battle of ‘being a straight woman’. I tried hard and often felt like I was failing at ‘being a woman’. I hurt myself and others in this personal battle. Reflecting back at the decisions I had to make, I remember the pain but I don’t feel the loss. I’m now able to see I made the right choices. I have arrived to my Valhalla. I am thankful for those who’ve shared similar stories with me. We continue to fight in this battle daily but manage to still live. Having to fight yourself and society on who you are / what is normal is a daily battle. A definition for what is the normal way to love and live is bullshit. I remind myself of this daily and it makes me proud of myself.”

Through the unraveling of each verse, the message is clear: Ward is free. Riveting bass lines bleed to the tantalizing chorus, tugging at Ward’s echo: “They’ll memorize my name on the list at the door of Valhalla / I’ll tell them how I died in the battle of Madonna.” Marrying raw concentration of 70s rock with Ward’s battle to Valhalla becomes an addicting visual.

Changing time signatures and long guitar delays swarm the track’s break and video’s disconnection from the world. Slightly caught in limbo, Ward’s peaceful trance and meeting of the serpent’s wrap become an ethereal portrayal before returning once more to reality. This breathtaking halt becomes the matrimony of self and love; one of many elements that make the Baltimore native a genuine artist.

Cover photo: Zoe Sher

Catch LRW on Tour with LP:
1/25: Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory w/ LP
1/26: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater w/ LP
1/27: Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades w/ LP
1/29: Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater w/ LP
1/31: Vancouver, Canada @ The Orpheum w/ LP
2/1: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo w/ LP
2/9: Toronto, Canada @ Danforth Music Hall w/ LP
2/11: Montréal, Canada @ Mtelus w/ LP
2/12: Québec, Canada @ Impérial Bell
2/14: Montréal, Canada @ Mtelus w/ LP

As Guest Lead Vocalist with The Divinyls:
2/27: Bluff Point, Australia @ Wintersun Hotel Motel
3/1: Perth, Australia @ Gate One Theatre
3/2: Dunsborough, Australia @ Dunsborough Tavern
3/3: Perth, Australia @ Gate One Theatre
3/6: Adelaide, Australia @ The Gov
3/7: Melbourne, Australia @ Forum Melbourne
3/8: Hobart, Australia @ Uni Bar
3/9: Launceston, Australia @ Saloon Bar
3/10: Lorne, Australia @ Lorne Hotel
3/13: Canberra, Australia @ ANU
3/14: Wollongong, Australia @ Waves
3/15: Sydney, Australia @ The Enmore Theatre
3/16: Newcastle, Australia @ Live at the Foreshore
3/20: Coolangatta, Australia @ The Coolangatta Hotel
3/21: Brisbane, Australia @ Eatons Hill Hotel
3/22: Mooloolaba, Australia @ The Wharf Tavern
3/23: Ipswich, Australia @ Racehorse Hotel
3/25: Darwin, Australia @ March Discovery


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