Charge

David Ford

Razor & Tie Records, 2013

http://www.davidfordmusic.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/13/2013

Don't have any idea who David Ford is? Yeah, neither did I. But if you spend any time with his new album Charge, you won't forget his name anytime soon. If obscure indie rock bands from England are in your rotation, you may be familiar with his short-lived outfit Easyworld, though since 2005 he's been going the solo route. How Ford has managed to not see the fame that songwriters like Ryan Adams or Jesse Malin have experienced is beyond me, as his soulful brand of folk rock runs parallel with the best of the genre.

Ford puts his most adventurous song in the lead off position, and the first sound you hear is a harmonica. “Pour A Little Poison” is alt-country rocker, sounding like Billy Bragg fronting Flogging Molly. The song bleeds with infectious country-rock and yet contains a fluid, lively rock 'n' roll energy. After hitting repeat on this track a handful of times, you'll find the rest of the disc is toned down by comparison, but it still carries an immeasurable impact. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though he still keeps things loud on occasion, especially with the Latin and blues-rock tinted “The Ballad Of Miss Lily,” Ford is especially with thoughtful balladry. Whether armed with just an acoustic guitar on the touching “Isn't It Strange” or with a piano on the tribute “Philadelphia Boy,” Fords gritty and nearly raspy singing complements the beautiful instrumentation in a way that David Gray's best work does.

An artist who has always been on the cusp of fame, much of the lyrical content reflects Ford's time surviving the music industry (he even wrote an autobiographical book about the same theme). Poorly received tours and fleeting opportunities are both touched on, though Ford especially shines with his personal stories on the more heart-wrenching, intimate songs. “What's Not To Love” is a moving piano ballad with eloquent wordplay, while “Moving On” is a gentle rocker with warm harmonica solos that reveals much about Ford's personality.

While many similar artists will stick to one formula throughout an album, Ford is open to diversity, sprinkling in fuller sounding tracks between the calm ones, leaving something everyone will appreciate. The disc ends on perhaps the defining song of Ford's career: “Every Time” essentially details his values, persistence, and integrity in the form of an anthem for the downtrodden. It's a rousing, powerful testimony from a man with his heart in the right place and a wealth of talent at his fingertips. If you're a fan of Damien Rice, Pete Yorn, Matt Costa or similar artists, you're going to love this.

Rating: A

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