Band of the Day

2013.10.06

David Ford

A cavalry of bluesy, swaggering British roots rock
We’re still young but our love is stone dead, cold as the sheets on the big empty bed, where I will not lay down anymore.
lyrics from Isn't It Strange?

"Making an album is a lot like a cavalry charge," declares David Ford. "You lay yourself bare, pick up a weapon, and run as fast as you can towards the enemy. If you fall, you get back on your horse and push towards the top." That's why Charge is the perfect title for the UK singer-songwriter's fourth full-length solo album, out via Razor & Tie. There's a robust energy coursing through the fabric of the record's soulful, swaggering rock. Ford's bluesy delivery remains fortified by intricate instrumentation and jazz-y heart, making for a collection of songs that's as inimitable as it is irresistible. He's charging ahead confidently once more. Drawing select gems from his three recent independent EPs—Ford 4.1, Austerity Measures, and Ford 4.2— and writing five new songs, the artist hit a Brooklyn studio with longtime collaborator, friend, and producer James Brown [Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl] to begin making Charge in 2012. Together, they brought Ford's initial vision to life. "He really gets me," affirms Ford. "We have the same kind of musical reference points, but his knowledge fills in the gaps of mine. In that respect, he's a great sounding board. He can take what I've written and help fashion it into a work of art. He's the perfect second team member." Rather than fall into any current trends, the singer emphasized classic songwriting and traditional melody. Throughout, he hearkens back to a more natural approach to making music. "In the age of auto-tune and one-note melody, it's a fairly defiant and bold thing to do," he goes on. "I wanted to lean on melodic structure, and I took the lyrics very seriously. You get too comfortable as you get older. I wanted to fight to do something that didn't feel so safe and typical." The first single "Every Time" certainly stands out and it is featured as the title song for the forthcoming film One Square Mile. "Every Time" rises from a poetic, theatrical verse into a massive Springsteen–esque refrain, illuminating his vocal prowess. Written while he was writing his self-published book (I Choose This – How to Nearly Make it in the Music Industry) about his experiences bumping along the bottom of the music business, the song remains one of Ford's most personal compositions to date. "I spent a lot of time reflecting on where I've been and what I've been doing since I quit my day job to become a full-time musician," he recalls. "As I was writing the book, it was natural for me to write the song. It became something of a defiance anthem for me. It's a snapshot in time. I was viewing it like the last song I'd ever write. It's the only song I've ever written about me specifically and my journey, and it's very reflective." Elsewhere on the record, "Pour a Little Poison" slides from a harmonica and handclap intro into a tongue- in-cheek chorus. "It's a foot-tapping, upbeat tune, but it came from a dark place," he reveals. "It was about my first headline tour of the USA with a lot of shows in the South where I had no audience. It was a low ebb for me, but I came back from it." Ford's had quite the journey thus far. Two of his prior solo albums were revered as "Album of the Year" in both The Sunday Times and World Magazine. He's also shared the stage around the globe with the likes of Ray LaMontagne, Elvis Costello, Ingrid Michaelson, and Gomez. He's also performed at high-profile festivals including the UK Latitude Festival, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits and on television shows such as Last Call With Carson Daly and Sun Studio Sessions. In the end, Charge is Ford at his most open and honest. "I feel more comfortable in who I am as an artist," he concludes. "I don't give a shit about being famous. I get it now. I wanted to make this album as real as possible. If people can have any kind of connection to it, I'll be happy."