For those of you in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, who are starting to pencil in fair dates – here’s one for you. Colt Ford will be taking the stage at our Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tenn., on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. And while area fair line-ups are starting to roll in, Colt’s night is the only one I have confirmed for the Appalachian Fair so far.
Back in November, I had a review of one of Colt’s shows, that was done by a guest reviewer. And today, I have a review of Colt’s new CD, by Andrew Griffin, from Red Dirt Report. Any of you who haven’t yet entered to win one of three copies of “Chicken & Biscuits” can click here to get your entry in. Deadline to enter is May 15, 2010.
(The following contributed to Country’s Chatter by Andrew W. Griffin, Red Dirt Report, editor)
One of the more interesting success stories in the past year is that of hick-hop artist Colt Ford.
After the release of 2008’s Ride Through the Country, Ford, a former pro golfer with a big appetite, began noticing a lot of people liked his mash-up of country and hip hop. I mean, back in the 1980s I will admit to being fascinated with the meshing of rock and rap. Think “Walk This Way” featuring Aerosmith and Run DMC. And believe it or not, DMC appears here on the unappealing “Ride On, Ride Out.”
And with Chicken & Biscuits – loaded up with 16 finger-lickin’ tracks – it’s clear that some heavy hitters in Nashville are keen to Ford’s novel approach. Sure, it’s been done by Cowboy Troy and Kid Rock, but I have to admit that Colt Ford is at least interesting, even if you’re not much for the hip hop side of his sound.
Rhett Akins, who has been all over the place lately, co-wrote the title track (and sings on “Cricket On a Line” later in the album) which features a fine fiddle and a co-vocal from James Otto, although the radio edit (the album’s final track) features Carolina Rain’s Rhean Boyer.
Granted, hearing Ford rap/sing is not always appealing to the ears, but when a belter like Otto sings his portion of the song, things improve. Let’s face it. Colt Ford is not a singer. He’s a personality who likes to rap and loves country music clichés. It works, somehow.
Rappin’ about a “funky little steel-and-fiddle redneck bar,” Ford hits on an increasingly noticeable phenomenon – hip hop being blasted in honky tonks, thus, the title – “Hip Hop in a Honky Tonk” featuring a great guest vocal from that ham from Texas, Kevin Fowler. It’s actually one of the best tracks on Chicken & Biscuits.
Randy Houser (“Boots On”) is another new country singer with a strong voice that helps Ford on “Hey Y’all.” It’s a little repetitious but a good top-down-drive-down-the backroads kinda song.
A track like “Diggin’,” which features a “Convoy”-styled backgrounds vocalists, is an amusing showcase for Ford while an actual cover of the 1975 novelty song by C.W. McCall is, well, a novelty in itself. Surprisingly, the Jayson Chance production is modern but close to the original. Pedal steel, fiddle and guitars. Pretty fun.
Josh Gracin is the guest on “All About Y’all,” a song that sounds like something Jake Owen or even Jason Aldean could have pulled off if they were rappers. And when they sing/rap about “y’all” they mean the ladies.
North Carolina’s Sunny Ledfurd joins Ford on the lazy summer day anthem “Nothing In Particular.”
“Tool Timer,” performed with smooth, Southern singer Darryl Worley, features solid production, fiddle and clean guitars. Ford’s rap, about a talented handy man looking for the right lady. Nice but a little dull.
With crickets chirping and a plucked acoustic guitar, “She Ain’t Too Good For That” is a bit cheesy, made slightly more palatable with a vocal from Arkansas country singer Joe Nichols (“Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”).
Ira Dean (Trick Pony) helps out on “Trailer Park Pulp Fiction,” a rather uninspired track, despite the enthusiasm of the performers.
Ford goes it alone on “We Like To Hunt,” a strong track praising the country life.
Raps Ford: “We don’t need much here but fishin’ poles and guns and trucks with four-wheel drive … we need to get on back’n to the simple life and what made this country great / and that was helpin’ each other, lovin’ our brotha, lord I just can’t wait.”
Again, the final track, the radio edit of “Country & Biscuits” features Rhean Boyer of country vocal group Carolina Rain. It’s not clear why James Otto did not remain on the radio edit. However, Boyer – who we interviewed a couple of years ago during a stop the group made here at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill – has a great voice and makes sense to accompany Ford on this upbeat track.
For more information go to www.coltford.com.
Grade – B
Thanks again to Andrew for sending this review to me. I’ve got to get ready for work. I’ll talk to you all soon!