‘ONE CHANCE ONLY’ THRILL IS SOMETHING THOSE WHO’VE EXPERIENCED DAVID FORD’S FREEWHEELING LIVE SHOWS WILL ATTEST IS AN ESSENTIAL PART OF HIS MUSICAL MAKE-UP. WHETHER BUILDING SONGS LAYER BY LAYER UTILISING AN ARRAY OF LOOPING TECHNIQUES, OR DISSECTING THE HEART ON HIS SLEEVE WITH SAVAGE DETAIL, FORD COULD NEVER BE ACCUSED OF TAKING THE EASY OPTION.
FOURTRACKS, his new EP, similarly flirts with energising danger. Recorded direct to tape in his living room using a vintage cassette portastudio and one microphone, with no editing, Ford’s self-imposed constraints have resulted in an intimate and soulful collection.
Four new songs feature, amongst them THE WAY THE HEART BREAKS and THE DAMNED ATLANTIC, and all seem to reflect on the songwriter’s experiences during his American tour last summer – including driving into Arizona on the day wildfires killed 19 firefighters. It was the highest death toll for US firefighters in a single incident since 9/11. The touching ARIZONA’s rough-around-the-edges blue-collar brotherhood is reminiscent of Springsteen’s NEBRASKA. Pork-pie hats are doffed elsewhere, too – the hopeful ELLIS ISLAND mythologises New York’s first-port-of-call gateway for immigrants between 1892 and 1954, tinges of Paul Simon shining happily across its decks.
In March 2013 Ford featured on an edition of The Mouthcast (here) shortly after release of his tour-de-force fourth album CHARGE (reviewed here). From it, WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE featured in our tracks of the year in December.
A collection of rakish upbeat tales and heartfelt balladry, CHARGE confirmed that the troubador’s succession of hard graft, trials and bad luck (documented in exceptional book I CHOOSE THIS: HOW TO NEARLY MAKE IT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY) had not diminished his appetite for life, nor his exceptional gift for writing emotionally resonant broad-appeal material. FOURTRACKS is now available as a download, but a CD edition can be ordered direct from Ford’s shop, here.