On his latest release, guitar legend Robben Ford speaks the truth...not just with the sound of his guitar, but with the vision behind his music as he ventures deep into the blues with aggressive lice, direct and honest vocals and an uncharacteristic, yet appealing, rough edge. The CD also features Susan Tedeschi on the song One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor. Robben will be on tour throughout the Month of August 2007.
Not to be confused with Jeff Beck's identically titled 1968 album of crackling blues-rock fusion, this disc incorporates Robben Ford's unique blend of blues and jazz, but not rock. His first studio outing in four years shoehorns his traditionally biting, incisive-yet-clean guitar licks into songs that can't easily be pigeonholed. The opening easygoing Chicago shuffle of "Lateral Climb" is about as bluesy as it gets. The tune kick-starts the proceedings with a blazing solo that will have guitar fans salivating that this is finally the release where Ford opens up on his instrument. But the set shifts into a distinctive blend of R&B, jazz, smooth blues, and pop that displays the multitalented musician's strengths as a supple, subtle, and inviting vocalist as well as an intermittently skillful songwriter. A taut cover of Otis Redding's "Nobody's Fault but Mine" finds Ford mining a Memphis groove, as does the gospel-tinted "You're Gonna Need a Friend," cowritten with his wife. "Too Much" features an ominous plodding beat that never quite connects until the slashing solo, and the less said about the clichéd B.B. King tribute "Riley B. King" (cowritten with Keb' Mo') the better. But a rousing version of Paul Simon's "One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor" with Susan Tedeschi hits the soulful sweet spot Ford occasionally misses with the sporadically bland, yet agreeably jazzy fare that dominates this eclectic project's final third. --Hal Horowitz