By Liam Prost
CALGARY — From the first acoustic guitar chord of the opening track on Frazey Ford’s 2014 release Indian Ocean, listeners begin to settle into a comfortable singer-songwriter mindset. But just before your Neil Young reverie can begin, a warm organ sweeps you away straight into Aretha Franklin territory. Ford comes from folk origins, having performed for many years as the lead on many three-part harmonies that make up the catalogue of the Be Good Tanyas. After hearing Ford’s soft and wavering voice on the Be Good Tanyas’ more delicate, bluegrass-textured tracks, one might not anticipate a turn to soul music from her solo material. But between her debut record Obadiah (2010) and aforementioned Indian Ocean (2014), she has truly found a unique and prescient place within the genre. Soul and gospel aren’t new to Ford either, and in some ways this is the music she always wanted to make. That’s not to say that Be Good Tanyas was at all inauthentic however. Ford stresses that the Be Good Tanyas was the right music for the right time, and of course, the right people. Some of her contributions to the Be Good Tanyas foreshadow this turn as well. Specifically, the track “Human Thing,” which carries a level of strength and vivacity that permeates her solo work straight into tracks like “Done” from Indian Ocean (2014).
Frazey Ford plays the Lantern Church on February 13th as part of Block Heater festival.