I am so excited to release my new EP “Made to Last” through Sweetwater which you can purchase HERE.
Veteran guitarist/vocalist Robben Ford, a legend whose playing has energized the worlds of rock and pop, jazz and blues since the early 1970s, continues to burn it up on his latest release, the 5-track EP Made to Last (released April 6th, 2018). Recorded by Mark Hornsby at Sweetwater Studios, the session finds Ford in the company of bassist Brian Allen, drummer Wes Little, tenor saxophonist Jeff Coffin, and rhythm guitarist Casey Wasner. Ford plays and sings at the peak of his powers. The last of the five tracks, “The Champion,” is a trio instrumental with Sweetwater’s very own acoustic bassist Dave Martin and drummer Nick D’Virgilio.
Made to Last came about after Hornsby, also at Sweetwater Studios, recorded basic rhythm tracks for Ford’s latest Jing Chi collaboration with Jimmy Haslip and Vinnie Colaiuta, titled Supremo (Tone Center, 2017). “Musically, the idea for Made to Last was to do something Chicago blues-oriented, which is a style I’m always flirting with,” Ford says. “It’s kind of like jump music in a way, like jump and swing. You have to be a little careful with that in terms of sounding cliché and old, but it’s great. So the sound on Made to Last is no keyboards, and that’s very intentional. I brought in a rhythm guitarist instead, Casey Wasner, who’s playing in my working band. He’s a jack of all trades: he’s been a guitar tech, a stage manager, a monitor man, he even played drums for Keb’ Mo’ for many years. He’s multitalented and a great guy to have around.”
Allen and Little, who’ve been working with Ford for the last four years, bring muscle and effortless lift to the music. And because saxophone is also a featured instrument in Chicago blues, Ford brought in Coffin, renowned for his playing with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, among many other credits. “Jeff doubled and tripled himself in certain areas to create that horn-section sound,” Ford says.
Of the songs, “Good Times” is Ford’s extrapolation of a song by Lightnin’ Hopkins, and “Automobile Blues” is by Hopkins as well. “Crazy for My Baby” is by Willie Dixon, though Ford took inspiration from Little Walter’s recording. And “Somebody’s Fool” and “The Champion” are Ford originals. The solo on “Crazy for My Baby” takes a bit of a “crazy” turn itself: Ford uses the POG by Electro-Harmonix to create a double-octave effect — the dry signal as well as an octave above and below, resulting in three notes at once.
The guitars used on Made to Last are mainly Gibson Les Pauls, Ford says. One is a 1953, another a ’58 reissue. Ford also used his cherished 1960 white Fender Telecaster for some of the rhythm parts.