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CD REVIEW -- Ivy Ford
WGLT Highway 309

IVY FORD

Club 27

Self-Release

10 tracks

Ivy Ford Club 27

by Steve Jones

The age of 27 marked the demise of many great music icons.  Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison all died at 27 between 1969 and 1971 (as did Canned Heat’s Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson). In 1973, one of the Grateful Dead founders Ron "Pigpen" McKernan also died at 27. Most folks also know that the legendary Robert Johnson was allegedly murdered at age 27 in 1938.

In 1994 when Kurt Cobain died at 27, the idea of “Club 27” caught on even more in the public eye. And again in 2011, the loss of Amy Winehouse to alcohol poisoning added to the mystique. Dozens of musicians have died over the years at age 27. To honor them, Ivy Ford created this album of all original tunes as she, too, attains the age of 27.

Ivy’s not looking to leave us anytime soon.  She and her bandmates Willie Rauch on bass and Dave Axen on drums give us a great set of tunes to savor and enjoy.  The album focuses on her influences: Robert Johnson, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse. It’s just the trio doing all the heavy lifting and they do a fantastic job. Ivy adds keyboards and saxophone to the effort along with her guitar and vocals.

Things open with “Keep On Blues,” an homage to the legendary Robert Johnson.  It opens with a few bars of RJ’s “Crossroads Blues” and then transitions to Ivy giving us her version of the Delta as she seamlessly takes over the guitar and vocals.  Ivy plays her one-of-a-kind custom acoustic guitar, sliding up and down the strings, as she belts out some fantastic blues lyrics. The result is a superb opening to this album of 10 original cuts. 

Next is “Mama Didn't Raise No Fool” which is very much in the style of Amy Winehouse vocally and Jimi Hendrix on guitar (Ivy credits Hendrix as the influence but I hear both).  Ivy gives us some really passionate vocals and a cool organ solo on this one, too. Following that is “Black Sheep,” another homage to Hendrix. Wickedly hot guitar licks and her always solid vocals make this a winner. “Little Miss Little One” is up next, a tune in honor of her daughter Vivian and in the style of Janis. The feel of the cut is in the Joplin style of the Kris Kristofferson tune “Me and Bobbie McGhee.”  Ivy tinkles the piano keys as she sings and plays with joy and love.

With “Ready 2 Die,” Ivy tells us in no uncertain terms that she is not ready to give it up as she pleads, “I’m not ready to die.” The song has a cool beat and groove that drive it along, while the vocals are stellar once again. The guitar takes us home as Ivy plays around a bit at the end.

The second half of the tunes on the album open with “FINE,” inspired by Kurt Cobain. This is minor key, dissonant rock with a distinct edginess; the song is cool and intense.  Ivy again sings with emotion and gives a tasteful guitar solo. “Love In This World” is a bouncy and lively cut that might remind the listener a bit of Janis or perhaps just Ivy singing this happy tome.  She backs herself vocally and offers up a neat little guitar solo.

“Believe What You Heard” starts with a sweet little drum riff and then Ivy gets into an Amy Winehouse rhumba sort of groove. Inspired by Winehouse’s angst filled vocal style, Ford delivers more passion in her vocals and even plays some sax on the cut. “When I Met You” is another song inspired by Winehouse. This one is a pretty little ballad and love song. The organ adds nicely to the mood and once again Ivy sings with raw emotion. The album concludes with “Sky's The Limit;” this is a funky and cool cut with some good guitar and organ work.  The song is upbeat and uplifting and Ivy leaves us with a positive feeling.

This is quite the album.  It certainly is not a blues-only endeavor and never was intended or touted to be that.  It is a set of finely crafted songs in blues, soul, R&B, rock, and funk that give the listener a smorgasbord of outstanding tunes and performances to enjoy.  Ivy shows diversity and an ever-increasing adeptness to deliver higher and higher quality music as she proceeds down the path of her musical voyage.  Club 27 is a superb album that everyone needs to listen to.  Get it now – you will certainly not regret it!

For info or to buy the music:

https://ivyfordmusic.com/

OBTW.  There is not any correlation to age 27 and dying as a musician.  A few die earlier but most (thankfully) live to much riper old ages.  Analysis shows that more musicians have actually died at age 28 than at age 27. The most common age for them to die is at 56.  The notoriety of those that died gives the legend legs and popularity, but it’s not supported by statistics. At least here, it has made for a great new CD!

About the Author: Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois in Byron/Rockford, which earned the 2013 Keepin’ The Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

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