Record Of The Week # 126

Buck Ford – I’m Gettin’ There

The first five minutes of research of any artist is the most revelatory. Some are corporate entities with fawning biographies and some are journeymen holding down two jobs who don’t have a web page! Less is more I find. Buck Ford may have a website but information is scant to say the least. He hails from Vacaville in north California probably most famous for the fact I once stayed there overnight as I descended the Sierra Nevada on my bicycle on my way to San Francisco. I may have stayed longer if I’d known something as sublime as this fellow was around.

Despite his tender years Ford has several albums to his credit and I’m Gettin’ There is bordering on perfect. He wrote or co-wrote the songs and lyrically we swing between the usual beer drinking and broken hearts. Musically it’s pacey 90s modern yet traditional country with lashings of pedal steel, picking guitar, fiddle and honky tonk piano. Maybe more critically he can sing, an expressive baritone that delivers the stories with the assurance of a seasoned and lauded star.6

There’s not a poor track here. Lonely relies on his vocal, a catchy chorus and some electric guitar that commands your attention. Honkytonk Ambition is a gorgeous melody. Harmonies and the fiddle give way to another James Mitchell (Willie Nelson and Cole Swindell) guitar solo before pedal steel joins. Michael Johnson’s (George Strait and Reba McEntire) pedal steel adds such beauty to all the compositions. This is a hot Nashville band and the elevation of the whole album is evident. As required by proper country, banjo and fiddle accompaniment is always to the fore.

Heart That’s Gonna Break leans on the pedal steel, fiddle and electric guitar as he sings of a city girl finding life tough in the country. It’s a winning easy rolling melody which only needs his voice to complete. Banjo kicks off the title track with a swooping fiddle before we learn of his accelerated drinking due to withdrawal symptoms created by his departing squeeze. It’s that type of ‘devil may care’ ditty with wry humour. This type of song is part of every mainstream male’s repertoire. Showing his versatility we get the album highlight a brisk two step I Don’t Know. Greg Cole’s close harmonies give this a splendid sound as acoustic guitar and fiddles weave around the vocals, a timeless piece of 60s joy.

I’m not familiar with his back catalogue but if it’s remotely as good as this I’m ashamed I missed out: ignorance is no excuse. The other missing piece of the jigsaw is why isn’t this artist getting the breaks and promotion similar to troubadours such as Cody Jinks, Cody Johnson or Charley Crockett? Whatever you do don’t compound the felony and miss out.

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