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David Ford Songs For The Road Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

Musically interesting but you can’t help wishing this serious young cove would...

Zoe Street Howe 2007

After a successful recent stint supporting Ray LaMontagne and then the marvelous Suzanne Vega, the suitably lo-fi, husky-voiced David Ford releases his second album for our delectation – an effort which sees him shoehorning himself firmly into that ever-growing batch of singer-songwriters which include, well, Ray LaMontagne, James Morrison, David Gray and the very popular / very unpopular James Blunt. Ford would rather be compared to Tom Waits, according to his website, but so far the only comparison between the mighty Waits and he is the fact that Ford wears a hat on the front of this album.

But to the music with us, and Songs For The Road opens with the deceptively lush, expansively strings-laden “Go To Hell”, which, as the title suggests, is no pushover ballad. Melodic and strong, this track is a fine opener, depending on which side your Blunt-esque bread is buttered on, of course. Ford displays the obligatory cheeky Estuary English twang in the perky “Decimate”, before letting things get maudlin but still melodic in “I’m Alright Now”, and the faltering voice and piano poetry of “Song For The Road”.

This album is apparently all about the singer’s foray into America, and to be fair, it doesn’t sound like he had much fun. “Train” is slowly majestic and has a glimmer of hope and determination to it, complete with harmonica squawking motifs, which, as we all know, are always a good thing. But the album takes a downturn again with the indulgence of “St Peter” and “Requiem”. The Randy Newman-tinged “Nobody Tells Me What To Do” is musically more interesting but you can’t help wishing this serious young cove would lighten up a tad. At least he’s got it all off his chest though – and he has a fair following of fans who will hang on every angry word.

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