David Ford: Charge
“I went out to make some money cos’ I’ve got no shame/Pour a little poison onto my good name.” With these lyrics, English singer/songwriter David Ford opens his fourth solo LP, Charge. These words could be taken to mean that he has stooped to pandering, but his story is quite the opposite. As one of the greatest musicians you’ve probably never heard, Ford has been jerked around and dropped from several labels, but he’s continued to scrape by with the trilby on his head and some battered instruments to create albums that always outdo their predecessors.
Charge is truly an album defined by passions. Romantic love is represented at its height by the piano ballad “What’s Not to Love?” and the soul-tinged “Perfect Soul,” which makes a charming list of offers for companionship. By contrast, “Isn’t It Strange?” is a heartbreaking account of a relationship falling apart. While the lyrics, “I spent the best years of my life waiting on you,” could apply to any romance on the outs, it seems to resonate particularly well with the life of a struggling musician.
But love doesn’t just exist between people. “Philadelphia Boy” is a touching ode to a city and its people that have connected with the English musician. “Every Time” goes a step further. As a sweeping epic of a song, it describes the knocks Ford has taken in the music industry and how, for better or worse, he has embraced these shortcomings without bitterness or envy. It’s an anthem of the normal and the imperfect, and it’s just the song we need in times like these.
So far, this is my album of 2013, and you would do yourself a favor to add it to your collection. I can’t guarantee David Ford will hit the mainstream; betting on the opposite would seem more likely. Still, this is one artist below-the-radar you owe it to yourself to discover.