Music & Shows

Published on October 1st, 2014 | by TLV News


Marc Ford Holy Ghost Tour with Elijah Ford Thursday, Oct. 2 at Proud Larry’s

If you know Marc Ford’s back story in full, you know it’s about a multi-faceted reputation forged on the frontline as the fabled lead guitarist with The Black Crowes; at the helm of his own bands, and as a vital component of key records and/or tours by acts from Govt. Mule to Izzy Stradlin, from Booker T to Ben Harper (for which he won a Grammy and a NAACP award); and as the producer of roots-rocker Ryan Bingham and many more. Now, Ford is releasing a new solo album Holy Ghost  in the US on Naim Edge Records. The album has plenty of space for Ford to demonstrate that his guitar sorcery is as powerful as ever, but it’s also the best songwriting of his career.

Marc FordtallReleased in the UK in April, Holy Ghost overflows with subtle and surprising pleasures, liberal use of pedal steel, Fender Rhodes, mellotron, banjo, and more. It shows off an artist refreshed and refueled, taking life at a slower pace at home in California these days – and it’s the next chapter in a unique Anglo-American collaboration.

Ford produced the Bristol (UK)-based Phantom Limb’s second album The Pines, released in 2012, and when it was time to give life to the songs he’d collected for Holy Ghost, he called on the Limb’s Stew Jackson, aka Robot Club, in sessions at Rockfield in Wales and the Shed in Bath. Jackson plays on the album along with his fellow Limbs, while Marc’s son Elijah adds guitars, and his wife Kirsten contributes vocals. Elijah, himself a fine new talent, has also been working with Jackson on his own album project.

The results are inspiring, often upbeat, and always reflective. As Ford himself says, “it’s hopeful, in a dark way sometimes.” But it’s the work of an artist who’s found the inner strength to recharge, personally and professionally. “It’s a reflection of my life,” he says. “I pulled out of gigging and traveling and literally kind of stopped.

The Holy Grail now is to find how you keep a family and a musical career together. We moved to San Clemente, which is a little surf town, and the pace here is slower. It really is a small town feeling, a lot of acoustic guitar playing. I think all that reflects in the record.”

marc ford posterAfter high school band, he formed his own outfit, in a rock education that would lead ultimately to Burning Tree, the acclaimed LA trio whose powerful local reputation led to a deal with Epic and a 1990 album. Noticed by a bunch of Atlanta scene makers of the day called The Black Crowes, Ford would join them in 1993 for The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, which hit No. 1 and sold two million copies in the US alone as they climbed to the top of the world. His guitars were also front and center of 1994′s Amorica and Three Snakes and One Charm.

His time with The Black Crowes, including a second stint in the mid-2000s, is so well documented as to need little repetition here. Except for Ford to say that he can look back on his musical passage with them, and on all of his other stops along the way, with real satisfaction. “I’m proud of all the music that’s been made,” he says. “I think that stands and the Crowes was a fantastic band. Ben Harper’s music is great; There Will Be A Light (on which he plays,) as he does the later Both Sides Of The Gun is a fantastic record. Ryan Bingham, I heard at a club at one in the morning and it was like ‘Please let me record you.’” He did so, for Bingham’s lauded Lost Highway albums Mescalito and Roadhouse Sun.

“There are a lot of factors involved when you’re in your early 20s and everything you’ve ever dreamed of happens. I got swept up in it, like many people do. There was just a point where I went ‘Wait a minute, you’ve reached the top of the mountain and the answers aren’t here, this isn’t really any kind of enlightenment I was looking for.’ Drugs and alcohol were a giant cover-up for a lack of self, and worth. So the only regrets I would have would be personal, wishing that I could have handled certain things better. But then again, I had to learn it.”

Holy Ghost is absolutely ingrained with all the things Marc Ford has learned. “Maybe people still want me to be a guitar hero and that’s it,” he says firmly. “I’m determined to change that mindset.”

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

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