photo: Jennifer Noble
Ivy Ford (7:30 p.m.)
Bear Williams (5 p.m.)
Oct. 7, 2022
The label “child prodigy” is often overused. But when it comes to Ivy Ford, the description rings true. Raised in north suburban Waukegan, IL, Ivy leaned to play music at an early age. She is mostly self-taught on piano, alto saxophone, drums, bass and guitar. At age 13, she began performing live with a Kenosha, WI band, The Real Deal. In 2012, at age 19, she joined a local blues band which evolved into Ivy Ford and the Cadillacs.
Once she was old enough to get into bars, Miss Ford began to perform with her mentor, blues guitar hero and Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee, J.B. Ritchie. She has since shared the stage with Toronzo Cannon, Tom Holland, Joe Moss and more. After receiving exposure by playing in Chicagoland’s blues clubs, Ivy’s stand-out talent earned her many prestigious bookings including opening for Buddy Guy at his club Legends in 2015. She also represented the Crossroads Blues Society (based in Rockford, IL) at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in February 2018. Ivy’s riveting, high energy performance won her a spot in the semi-finals, after competing against a couple hundred blues acts from around the world. The next year, Crossroads sent Ivy back to Memphis for IBC 2019 and this time she made it to the finals!
Her star really began to rise after that -- she landed a slot at Chicago Blues Fest in June 2019 and released her critically acclaimed CD Harvesting My Roots. She followed with a unique concept album Club 27, an homage to legendary musicians who left us too soon. The COVID-19 crisis in 2020 cancelled her performance schedule, nevertheless Miss Ford spent her time well; she streamed live shows and she recorded a cheery Christmas EP in her home.
Now that things are starting to get back to normal, Ivy was able to do a tour of Europe, including Paris and Belgium. And she landed a high profile spot on the prestigious Pritzker Stage for Chicago Blues Fest 2023 as well as Berwyn Blues Fest at FitzGerald's.