David Ford was performing for two nights at Rockwood Music Hall and one of my favorite artists at one of my favorite clubs is a very good thing. David was at Stage 3, which is the small club downstairs from the Orchard Street entrance. He was in town because he was recording a new album upstate New York so he decided to do a small eastern US tour while he was here. For this night it was rtb, violaleeblue, mollyT, and me.
David Ford is a British singer-songwriter, whose songs are heartfelt – longing for a loved one or ranting about politics, you get emotionally involved in the songs and the performance. There are times that David gives me chills. It’s been 10 years since he first played the US, so it was a bit of an anniversary tour.
One of the things he does to great effect is looping. He will layer instruments and vocals until the entire room is filled with sound even though he’s alone on stage. He does that on two of my favorite songs “Go to Hell” and “State of the Union.” During “Go to Hell” he also sat down next to an audience member while singing. Besides the acoustic guitar and piano, David had several percussion instruments and an electric keyboard.
He did a lot of talking before each song so we heard some introductions we haven’t heard before. When talking about how people think that all his songs are personal, David said that his first solo album was about a break-up – the break-up of his band. And his last album was about his break-up from the music industry.
There was no set list and he joked that night’s songs were going to be the sad songs and the next night would be the angry songs – but that left out the sad angry songs. At one point when he was thinking of the next song to play, an audience member yelled out that it was his anniversary so he wanted to hear “Song for the Road” for him and his wife and David accommodated them. The moment leading up to and when he sings, “I choose this” is when I got chills.
And we heard again that “I’m Alright Now” was awarded a French Grammy for a version by Johnny Hallyday with French lyrics that have nothing to do with the original lyrics.
From the new songs, David played a song that he’d written on the plane – he made the joyful announcement that he and his wife are expecting a baby (due in November) and he wrote a song after seeing the sonogram (“Nothing Like Today”). Another new song is a murder ballad and I always love a good murder ballad. I liked all the new songs David played and look forward to the new album.
And like all live performances, there may that moment when the musician messes up and it came during “Decimate.” David paused, gathered himself, remembered he words, and continued on.
It was such a fun night and I was looking forward to the next night.
Waiting for the Storm
One of These Days
Go to Hell
By Your Side (new song)
Isn’t It Strange
Nothing Like Today (new song)
State of the Union
I’m Alright Now
Why Don’t You Answer the Telephone (new song)
Song for the Road
Decimate/December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)/(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher (medly)
By Carene Lydia Lopez