Rick Ford "Voices" (Independent, 2013)
R2 ROCK 'N' REEL. Jan/Feb 2013
'Within the first few seconds of opener, 'World Gone Wrong', my speakers felt dirty. A distorted guitar stomp with some nicely degenerate blues harp thrown in; what's not to like? I don't know how Derbyshire is for bluesmen but Rick Ford's probably my favourite.
'One More Step', a hammering, shimmering tale of desperation and crime sends shivers up the spine, whilst the Latin flavours of Santa Anna show Ford casting his net further in his transatlantic influences.
'Voices of Yesterday', the stately odyssey which closes the album, is a dusty parched-throated epic with world-weary piano and a gospel choir of fallen angels. This is one of those songs that stops time. Top-notch songwriting and a masterfully understated performance.'
AMERICANA UK. December 2012
'Rick Ford's third album, Voices, is full of enthusiasm and vigour with a high quota of catchy tunes to boot.
'Voices' kicks off with a suitably raucous and rocky start with the Blues shuffle of 'World Gone Wrong' followed by Rise Up, the latter featuring Mark Knopfler style guitar phrasing. This musical energy continues throughout the record with the exception of when Ford takes to his acoustic guitar and harmonica alone for those stripped back numbers reminiscent of early Dylan.
A mention should also be made of Ford's musical partner in this project Simon Watkinson who is credited with most of the instrumentation on this record and he has risen admirably to the task. The musical styles mingle here on Voices and you will find hard driven blues alongside sweet acoustic ballads and rock standards. There's variety and positivity in what Rick Ford does and a lot of spirit too.'
Rick Ford "Still" (Independent, 2010)
ROCK 'N' REEL May/June 2010
Although a certain cynicism can often attend English Americana, Rick Ford is one of those rare singer-songwriters who is wholly convincing in his ragged-edged country, folk and blues idiom. Whereas some may put on styles like a tourist Stetson, with Ford you sense that there’s a lifelong love – and understanding – of the music that simply rules out any other approach.
Alongside the country blues of 'Batten Down the Hatch’, there’s a touch of Crosby and Stills here, a flash of Eric Andersen there (particularly in the delivery of the stompin’ Fallin’ Blues) and the shadow of Dylan flitting in and out of the picture. This latter is most apparent in the dream narratives of a handful of tracks, such as opener Endless Trail, which growls its visionary part-apocalyptic, part- humorous tale across pumping drums and rough hewn guitar.
Of course, you’d expect a good story from an acclaimed fantasy novelist and Ford doesn’t disappoint. … a fine collection from the wide open spaces of the Peak District.'
AMERICANA UK REVIEW
Folk with balls, badgers, and a big amp…
Rick Ford lives in the Staffordshire Peak District in England. He sings songs, he tells stories, he writes books. And he records marvelous ballsy albums with catchy melodies, hooks and riffs galore.
His ‘difficult second album’ (artists words, not ours) is a delight to hear. He flips from Americana rock to Tolkienesque ditties about unicorns, bluebell woods and flying polar bears.
He takes you by the hand and leads you into his enchanted world where you’ll "follow badger footprints in the snow, and find your wildwood at your journey’s end". But not before you’ve danced jigs beneath the moon with pretty Gypsy girls with blood red lips. And flowers their hair. You get the picture, he's a total hippy.
‘Still’ is full of colourful tales of love and loss, nature and wilderness, and everything inbetween. It’s great homegrown folk music as it should be. A genuinely lovely album and well worth a listen.
Date review added: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Reviewer: Sian Claire Owen
MAVERICK MAGAZINE REVIEW
'There's a pleasingly authentic outlaw spirit about this release from singer-songwriter Rick Ford. A resident of rural Staffordshire and a regular on the local pub and club circuit, Ford shows that he's ready for bigger things with this all-original collection. As a sometime fantasy novelist, he puts storytelling at the heart of his country-rock songs, interwoven with blues and folk influences. But the subjects this time are all too grounded in reality, and Ford shows a striking confidence in making the album an almost perpetually sombre affair, at times genuinely bleak. A Song For Muktar tells the desolate tale of a child warrior, while Beyond The Clouds is an equally tragic love story, but Ford delivers both of them with dignity and even a little of Richard Thompson's vocal gravitas...... The bar has already been set high by opener A Red Rose, a measured and grittily poetic roots-rocker, and this standard is matched again by the rolling folk lilt of Whispers and Screams. This is a predominantly well-crafted collection that balances a robust roots framework with delicacy and wistfulness where it really counts.' Helen Carney.
Maverick is the UK's biggest selling Americana/Country magazine.
ROCK 'N REEL REVIEW July/August 2008
RICK FORD debuts with an album of self-compositions, in his own words, 'distilled from a lifetime of listening to country, folk and blues,' entitled Smoke and Mirrors. It's a particularly competent collection. The irresistible melody-rich immediacy of Whispers and Screams' and country tones of 'You'll Never leave Me' contrast with the compelling acoustic pop-rock of 'A Red Rose' and the reflective acoustics of the harrowing 'A Song for Muktar' on an album brimming with unpolished gems.
AMERICANA.CO.UK REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2008
No tricks from Staffordshire troubadour
The unhurried melodies, rooted in folk story-telling tradition, suit Ford's simple and honest vocal style. Almost entirely acoustic, and sparsely yet carefully arranged throughout, Ford conjures up familiar earthy sounds to suit the observations of his keen lyrical eye. Title-track 'Smoke & Mirrors' is an early highlight, with dobro and mandolin adding haunting layers to Ford's simple melody and enthralling tale of disjointed moments in life not always being as they first appear. Elsewhere, it's unclear exactly who 'May Life Treat You' is aimed at, but you'll be thankful it isn't you, as Ford reels off an extensive list of bad wishes, bitterness and vengeful rhetoric. It's enticingly dark stuff. James Blunt it isn't!
.a talent worthy of investigation.
BLUES MATTERS REVIEW NOV-JAN 2009
The album opens with 'A Red Rose', written after an inspiring trip through Eastern Europe and Russia. The sound Rick has on this song is as big as the Steppes itself. You can taste the open spaces and the hardship of lives spent either in these landscapes or on the fringes of poverty.
As a writer Rick has the ability to conjure up visual images aplenty and you just see the farmer shooting at molehills, for example in the title track. The painting with words is particularly strong on three key moments of excellence with the songs 'Reflections of Madonna', 'A Song for Muktar' and 'Beyond the Clouds'. The first looks at those folks dispossessed and broken through either collateral damage or driven out by war. The second tells the tragic story of a young boy, maybe 14 years old, who is a boy soldier in the mire that is war-torn Africa. The last of the trio relates the tale of two lovers driven apart by un-supportive parents. It is a story common to many and very sad. This is a good record.