Frazey Ford | Szold Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader

Frazey Ford All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Thu., Nov. 12, 8 p.m. 2015

On the two stunning solo albums she made since playing with the Be Good Tanyas, Canadian singer Frazey Ford has forged a sound as unique as it is gorgeous by situating a breathy vibrato a la Buffy Sainte-Marie within a hybrid of Memphis soul and 70s folk rock. On her 2010 album Obadiah (Nettwerk) her ethereal drawl and mesmerizing warble stretch and shape words like pieces of clay. These quirks work because of the strength of her songwriting, which is strongly influenced by early Neil Young and mid-70s Dylan (she includes a knockout version of the latter’s “One More Cup of Coffee”). On last year’s Indian Ocean (Nettwerk) Ford underlines her love for Memphis soul further, swiping muted organ licks from the Hi Records sound of the 70s and enlisting as her rhythm section the Hodges brothers, the house band for that legendary label. The warm, enveloping arrangements masterfully highlight Ford’s voice, providing a firm backbone that perfectly contrasts with her elastic phrasing, which drives home the point that she’s not trying to cop Ann Peebles or Al Green despite the storied sound backing her. Her distinctive melodies, arrangements, and phrasing also disguise the anger that wells up sometimes—“Done” is a kiss-off song as deliberate and barbed as any I’ve heard, particularly the devastating line “My joy takes nothing from you.”

Peter Margasak

Price: $25, $23 members

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