CD REVIEW: Ty Ford - Watermelon Time (EP)
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Ty Ford
Album: Watermelon Time (EP)
Genre: Americana, Folk, Soul Rock, Blues
Sounds Like: Dr. John, Jimmy Buffett, Peter Paul and Mary, The Band, Leon Russell, Grateful Dead, Joe Cocker, Randy Newman
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Winded Songs, CD Manufacturing, Polarizing Catalog
Ty Ford is a Singer/Songwriters from Maryland who just released his latest CD entitled “watermelon Time (2019). To quote Paul Iwanico (Baltimore Songwriters Association) “In just 5 songs Ty Ford will take you on a rich, varied and colorful journey through his musical world-more entertaining and engaging than many vacation days I've taken.” In his own words: I'm mostly a baritone, so people say I remind them of Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen. Although I do have a higher range, when I'm playing and singing with others, I usually hang out in the basement under the tenors. Influences include the likes of Johnny Cash and John Fahey.
The CD kicks things off with “Look Ma I’m Flyin’” a methodical intro piece that serves-up impressive Acoustic guitar exuberance accompanied by inviting melody, Americana style guitar licks and impressive accents and well placed rhythm guitar feel. Track 2 “How Dear You are to Me” keeps things moving in the right direction with its impressive guitar musicianship, against well placed vocal melody against a heartfelt chorus. Track 3 “Swing Low” delivers smooth moving ditty with well-placed vocal melody, dynamic musical flow and top flight musicianship via thought provoking lyrical content that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Galloway reminiscent of classic Johnny Cash, Jimmy Buffett, Grateful Dead, Dr. John, The Band, Leon Russell, Joe Cocker and Randy Newman. First the music itself has a lot of vocal originality and possesses a 70’s blues/rock persona. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation and lush layers of instrumentation. I would classify this music as classic 70’s Psychedelic Rock, R&B, Soul Rock and American Folk, Jam Band with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies and good songwriting and superb musicianship. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing amazing playing, impressive songwriting, and a wide arrangement of instrumentation. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of Mandolin, well placed Clarinet, Harmonica, Lap Steel, lush harmonies, sporadic Percussion, and amazing Acoustic and R&B guitar layered within the music. As far as vocal abilities, Ford let's it all hang out and brings the mojo as he sings with a lot of groove-ability and more than enough soul to go around. His voice works well across the board possessing a vocal swagger reminiscent of classic Johnny Cash with just a splash of Jimmy Buffett. Ford’s voice fits this style of music perfectly, and he's somewhat infectious. Ford clearly demonstrates a strong and confident vocal ability. All production aspects check out as the CD has solid low end groove and crystal clear high end clarity. Kudos goes out to the amazing acoustic guitar showmanship from Ford as he’s an accomplished Acoustic player who plays with an amazing amount of fluidity and finesse. The rest of the band just grooves well together. Ford deserves a lot of credit for bringing all this together. From thought provoking “Billy” this EP has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with red hot Track 5 “Existential Boogie” (Be Here Now) the perfect faille statement for a CD of this caliber.
All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. The actual CD is made of low quality material, not the high quality Silk Screen material you are accustomed to. 1 panel insert is made of low quality print paper. Some of the aforementioned issues are not reminiscent of industry standard CD releases. CD is a bit polarizing. Case in point Tracks 2/5 feature a full band and Tracks 1/2/4 – just guitar. There’s nothing wrong with this – it’s just a bit extreme.
In closing Ty Ford's latest effort "Watermelon Time" is just a blast to listen to and is a strong musical production from start to finish. The music is highly original, extremely melodic with amazing writing and playing from all involved. As the EP progressed I became more and more impressed with the songwriting. I would say the flower children who like Leon Russell and Grateful Dead out there will love this one. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are quite compelling sung to us my a master storyteller. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the writing and singing abilities of Ty Ford just wins you over - without trying to hard to do so.
Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes