GUITAR LEGEND ROBBEN FORD’S NEW ALBUM INTO THE SUN CAPTURES HIS CONTEMPORARY SONGWRITING MASTERY
To Be Released Via Mascot Label Group On March 30 ; With Guest Appearances By Blues Icon Keb’ Mo’, Vocalist ZZ Ward, And Fellow Guitar Heroes Warren Haynes, Sonny Landreth, Robert Randolph and Tyler Bryant
February 5, 2015- Guitar virtuoso Robben Ford’s forthcoming new album Into The Sun (Mascot Label Group) shines a bright light on his artful, contemporary songwriting and the stunning playing that’s made him a favorite foil of Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison and other legends.
The five-time Grammy nominee describes the 11-song set as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done” — a staggering observation considering his extensive discography, which embraces more than 35 albums under his own name and with his various bands. There’s also Ford’s session and sideman work, which includes hundreds of concert appearances and albums by Bonnie Raitt, Barbara Streisand, Charlie Musselwhite, KISS, Ruthie Foster, Jimmy Witherspoon and Rickie Lee Jones.
Into the Sun, which follows last year’s critically acclaimed A Day In Nashville and 2013’s Bringing It Back Home, explores the breadth of Ford’s sophisticated, visionary writing and playing, creating a new chapter in his brilliant musical history. The album features a coterie of guests: gritty Southern rock newcomer Tyler Bryant on “Stone Cold Heaven,” Allman Brothers guitarist and Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes on “High Heels And Throwing Things,” slide guitar guru Sonny Landreth on “So Long 4 U,” Americana and blues icon Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel wizard Robert Randolph on “Justified,” and vocal sensation ZZ Ward on “Breath Of Me.” Niko Bolas, whose credits include Neil Young, John Mayer and Keith Richards, engineered.
“The album is really upbeat,” Ford relates. “It has a positive vibe to it — a good time feel. There are a lot of different rhythms and colors and the way the instruments are used is really different on this and that track. It makes me very happy to have something so diverse.”
Although Ford’s recent releases have been hailed as returns to his musical roots — which go back to his discovery of blues as a teenager in the 1960s – Into The Sun is a clear departure, using tradition as a springboard to incorporate his timeless vocabulary of jazz, pop, blues and rock into a modern framework for his poetic lyrics and the most graceful, emotionally nuanced and melodic vocal performances of his career.
“This album is obviously of these times,” Ford says. “And the rule during the recording process was to have no lid on things. I’ve worked very hard to master my craft as a musician and a songwriter, but other than relying on my strengths in those areas, I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my collaborators brought to the music. When you’re open to different concepts and approaches, the most beautiful things can happen.”
All of the music and most of the lyrics from Into The Sun came directly from Ford, but he also collaborated with ZZ Ward on “Breath Of Me” and enlisted the enigmatic Kyle Swan, whose own recordings liberally mix images and styles to build articulate modernist-pop tone poems. That quality reverberates in the four songs Ford co-wrote with Swan, married to the guitar giant’s own deep commitment to narrative. “Working with Kyle was part of my desire to toss up everything and see what might happen, to get a fresh perspective,” says Ford.
“Justified” is a sheer gas with Keb’ Mo’ and Ford trading tongue-in-cheek vocal lines as Randolph adds soaring pedal steel punctuation over Jim Cox’s purposefully wobbly honky tonk piano.
Into The Sun was recorded by Bolas, a collaborator of Ford’s since his all-instrumental 1997 album Tiger Walk. “Niko is simply the best tracking engineer I’ve ever encountered,” says Ford. “He gets great sounds instantly.” All the better to capture Ford’s glorious guitar tones, this time derived from four of his go-to instruments: a pair of Gibson SG’s from 1963 and 1964, his beloved 1960 Telecaster and his Gibson B-25 acoustic. As he’s done on every album he’s made since 1983, Ford used a Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier.
“For me,” Ford says, “it’s all about the art. If you work hard at something you’re going to get better. I honestly think I reached a point with my writing on Into The Sun where I could just go with the flow and bring some of the best songs I’ve ever created to life.”
ROBBEN FORD – INTO THE SUN Track Listing
1. Rose Of Sharon
2. Day Of The Planets
3. Howlin’ At The Moon
4. Rainbow Cover
5. Justified (with Keb’ Mo’ & Robert Randolph)
6. Breath Of Me (with ZZ Ward)
7. High Heels And Throwing Things (with Warren Haynes)
8. Cause Of War
9. So Long 4 U (with Sonny Landreth)
10. Same Train
11. Stone Cold Heaven (with Tyler Bryant)
ROBBEN FORD – INTO THE SUN – 2015 TOUR DATES
April 29 – London, England – O2 Academy Islington
April 30 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – North Sea Jazz Club
May 1 – Breda, Netherlands – Mezz Concerts & Dance
May 2 – Groningen, Netherlands – Rhythm n Blues Night
May 5 – Leuven, Belgium – Het Depot
May 8 – Karlsruhe, Germany – Tollhaus
May 9 – Hamburg, Germany – Fabrik
May 10 – Cologne, Germany – Kantine
May 12 – Munich, Germany – Technikum
May 13 – Frieburg, Germany – Jazzhaus
May 20 – Zurich, Switzerland – Kaufleuten Festival
June 26 – Carpentras, France – Auzon Le Blues
Additional dates to be announced…