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Annie Ford Band

Annie Ford Band – 2014 (CD Baby)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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Never mind Annie Ford's rural pedigree; literally born in a log cabin and raised in rural Virginia where she spent her days chopping wood and hanging clothes on the clothes line, she hit the highway early on and left her small town environs behind, Stopping for awhile in New Orleans, she went on to seek her fortune in Seattle's burgeoning Americana scene. With a back story like that, it's practically a given that Annie Ford should emerge sounding so rustic and resolute. Not necessarily a newcomer - she paid her dues plying her fiddle and banjo playing in the service of others including Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show - this eponymous debut captures a voice both seasoned and assured and establishes her as a force to be reckoned with already.

Ford's songs tell of the toils and trials that come with life in the heartland. On tracks such as "Dirty Hearts & Broken Dishes," "All Hours" and "Calloused Hands" she bares the details of her humble beginnings, sharing her experiences in sepia tinted flashbacks that paint a cinematic sketch seemingly torn from the pages of a John Steinbeck novel that details hard times and heartbreak. Ford's band colors these tattered tales with a nuanced blend of pedal steel, banjo, keyboards and an occasional hint of brass, enlivening the proceedings when called for, but mostly adding depth and dimension to a carefully groomed melange. Here again, Ford and her colleagues already seem fully formed, a band with the ability to execute their role adroitly without regard to sound or style. When the band turn up the heat with the ragtime revelry of "Frankie," tear through the bluesy boogie of "Shake on That" or opt to vamp on "Gotta Kill a Rooster," it becomes clear that they possess that certain savvy regardless of how it's applied.

This model Ford is fully charged and ready to roll.