Ford is a philosopher whose observations sweep from blithe (“life is not always easy… is not made of tasty pies and cheeses and fine silken scarves…”) to gripping (“you’ve been shooed away, you’ve been sent to war, and for every bullet shot you caught ten more… oh, you always seem to find your way home…”). That, and his penchant for experimenting with tempo, might explain why the album feels kind of like the sound track from a rock musical. In fact, the title track sounds so much like a curtain call in places that it’s hard to not picture a cast of cheery actors bouncing onstage for a round of bows and waves. Don’t get too comfy in that auditorium seat, though, because within seconds you’ll be whisked up and dropped into a big-tent revival, where preacher Ford observes,
Well there’s hate on the floor and there’s doubt on my skin,
But the shame that’s the worse is the fear we live in,
But hey now, ain’t that the fate of a good man?
Set for an April 17 release, the innovative album also showcases Ford’s agility at the keyboard and exquisite tenor vocals, backed for the first time by horn and rhythm sections and even some snazzy hand clapping. A little unsettlingly, the horns debut in junior-high-concert mode in opening track “Free to Try,” but they snap into place quickly (and just as Ford imagined), showing humor and flexibility throughout the album and leaving lots of space for Ford’s perfectly timed vocal pauses and ironic inflections.
It’s classic Christopher the Conquered stuff and the reason the Ames singer-songwriter has garnered considerable interest since his 2009 debut You’re Gonna Glow in the Dark.
My advice? Looking cool while driving is overrated. Download a copy of the pre-release on April 3, burn it onto a disc and enjoy some drive time with it before the GDP Music Festival. Ford’s fans like to sing and dance at his shows, and the best way to enjoy this artist’s craft is to place yourself squarely in the middle of it.
Watch the (very funny) video for “Free to Try”: