Ty Ford – Watermelon Time (2009)
In the spirit of musical justice (as I find is severely lacking these days), I gave this latest CD from Ty Ford a good and proper listen and not only did I not hate it, but I actually kind of fell in love with it, and subsequently Ford in the process. This guy is based out of Maryland. The music therein is a bit more Past-Rock than Modern-Rock so it’s not lackluster as I was expecting. Some songs break the 5minute barrier. I can hear influences ranging from Jim Croce, Delbert McClinton, Gregg Allman, Anders Osborne and New Riders of the Purple Sage. Maybe even The Rees Shad Band and David Wilcox. Most of the music is straight up Bluesy-Funk but much of it contains remnants of classic singer/songwriter. It delivers solid intos, outros, good playing and chops and much in the way of musical angulation. But wait – some of the music shifts in a different direction offering more Singer/Songwriter perspective. The lyrics aren’t as annoying or sickly as I thought they would be. Vocals by Ford shall I say saucy as he commands a powerful low tonal registry all the while maintaining impressive vocal mojo and control. Vocally he reminds me of Johnny Cash. He really knows how to find the pocket and let loose behind the microphone shall we say.
Ford melds and blends all of the above together in a starkly unique way. The end result? A new sound with an old classic feel. Reading from the words of past reviewers this is the clear consensus. How shall I sum up the sound of Ford for you? How about kind of ground breaking? While actually sounding like he’s not so over produced like some of the more modern sounding artists out there like John Maher, Ford manages to capture a sound that is old yet surprisingly fresh all at the same time. Trust me when I say there are legions of fans waiting for this guy to arrive. Many of these retro tracks sounding surprisingly innovative, which makes up for their somewhat dated influences. From track 1-3 (Look Ma’ I’m Flyin’), (How Dear You Are to Me) and my favorite song (Swing Low) the album decides to trend towards amazing and serves up 5 sizzling tracks in all. All songs will get your blood pumping. My favorite songs are the sad but true ones (Swing Low) and (Billy). The album has a ring of truth to it. Another standout track is Track 5 (Existential Boogie) a real barnburner. All songs will cause you to reflect on your own life experience through the keen wisdom of Ford’s lyrics. The musicianship from all involved is world class. Amazing fretwork throughout by Ford. In conclusion there are 3 things I really like about Ty Ford For one I didn’t want to shoot myself with my pen like I do with most bands from the East Coast lately. No worries there. Two: this CD may be the most impressionable, genuine, artistic CD I’ve heard this year. Third: Ty Ford and his slew of players have the courage to write and play music the way they want to. A far cry from the “sell out” corporate puppet show bands the masses are scratching their heads at right now. Whereas 90% of the bands could care less about this approach as they just want to make labels happy. This is one of the most important attributes for me when reviewing music.
Ford needs to modernize his sound a little. The mix works for a Folk CD but as a result sounds a bit dated and lackluster. A new cutting edge mixer should be able to remind this. Ford also needs to upgrade his vocals a smig’. I recommend he spend a few hours with a vocal coach. Whatever he does let’s hope he won’t change the musical personality in the process because it’s pure gold.
– Nick Foley. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.
Buy on I-TUNES – https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/watermelon-time/id345492036