Manchester Deaf Institute
24th March 2013
For this tour supporting the release of his new album Charge, David Ford has come up with a novel idea of inviting Emily Grove and Jarrod Dickenson, two American singer-songwriters, to tour with him and for them to perform as each other’s backing band. It’s a brave move given they only arrived the previous Monday and the tour opened on the Wednesday.
Emily opens the set playing songs from her EP Way Across The Sea and her forthcoming debut album. Although it’s her first time in the UK, she’s not overawed by the full house that probably knew nothing of her in advance. She exudes that New Jersey charm and wit with an enthusiasm that’s infectious. She tells stories of her arachnophobia and friend who can’t doing anything wrong introducing the delightful Spiders, the stand-out song in her set and has the audience clapping along to the final track.
Jarrod is a different proposition. He’s a big Texan man with a ginger beard and imposing hat, and writes self-depreciating songs of failed love and misery, but like Emily, enraptures the crowd by the strength of his personality, making a reference to the Manchester / Liverpool rivalry at one point, whilst introducing songs from his forthcoming album The Lonesome Traveller.
Ford has always been something of a phenomenon live, changing his live set-up from tour to tour, drafting in various friends for some tours, going solo on others with a loop set-up and playing all manner of unique and self-made instruments. For this tour, he’s gone back to more of a typical four-piece set up with Emily and Jarrod and long-term associate Joey on drums.
His set draws from the highlights of Charge, the tale of a disastrous US tour on Pour A Little Poison, a story of a woman who uses men for her own needs on The Ballad Of Miss Lily, the gentle Throwaway and the album highlight, Perfect Soul, even throwing in a new song One Of These Days. He tells the crowd he’s always struggled to put together an album consistent in style and theme, or “death by eclectic”, but it makes his live show completely compelling as the pace and mood ebbs and flows wonderfully throughout.
He doesn’t just focus on the new songs though. His “worldwide classics of tomorrow” such as debut single State Of The Union, which first brought him to people’s attention with its home made video, the beautiful from-the-road love song to his wife that is Song For The Road and the off-the-wall attack on unspecified governments in Requiem delight those that have followed him for years. Set-closer Cheer Up You Miserable Fuck is finished off with a communal sing-along of the football terrace refrain. As ever, he charms his audience throughout, he banters with both Emily and Jarrod and members of the audience and explains the stories behind his songs.
For the encore, all four members of the band sing parts of The Band’s The Weight before they leave David on stage alone to sing Every Time, the story of his book I Choose This compressed into a five minute career self-evaluation, concluding that he’s continuing to make music because it’s what he loves.
In a parallel world somewhere, David Ford is a bona-fide superstar, in this world he’s one of the best kept secrets in the music business, a genuinely talented, modest gentleman floating serenely under the radar of what’s cool and hip. Go and see him.
David played :
Pour A Little Poison
Waiting For The Storm
The Ballad Of Miss Lily
State Of The Union
One Of These Days
Song For The Road
I Don’t Care What You Call Me
Cheer Up You Miserable Fuck
David’s website can be found here. He is also on Twitter and Facebook. There is a free download of album closer, Every Time, available from this link. David was interviewed recently by Louder Than War.
Charge is out now on vinyl, cd and download and is available from David’s official shop.
David plays the following shows in the next few months :
March 27 Edinburgh Electric Circus
March 28 Newcastle Cluny
March 29 York Fibbers
March 30 Norwich Arts Centre
March 31 Cambridge Portland Arms
April 3 London Scala
April 4 Birmingham Hare and Hounds
April 5 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
April 6 Ratoath The Venue
April 7 Belfast Empire Music Hall Belfast
June 1 Windsor University, Essex Hall Theatre
June 6 Cambridge Club Passim, MA
June 7 Northampton Iron Horse Music Hall, MA
June 9 Piermont Turning Point Café, NY
June 11 New York Rockwood Music Hall, NY
June 12 New York Rockwood Music Hall, NY
June 13 Asbury Park The Saint, NJ
June 14 Philadelphia World Cafe Live, PA
June 16 Arlington IOTA Club and Café, VA
June 19 San Francisco Hotel Utah San Francisco, CA
June 26 Los Angeles Bootleg Bar, CA
All words by David Brown. You can see more of David’s work on Louder Than War here