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CD REVIEW -- Ivy Ford
WGLT Highway 309

IVY FORD

Harvesting My Roots

Self-Released

11 tracks

Ivy Ford Harvesting my roots cd

by Steve Jones

Ivy Ford is one of the up and coming stars in the blues world.  At 26 years of age this young lady and her band were finalists at the 2019 International Blues Challenge (representing Crossroads Blues Society), have released two fantastic self-released albums and garnered many invites to play at big festivals across the U.S. and Canada. 

Touted as “The Chicago Blues Kitten,” Ivy recently relocated from Waukegan, IL, to Kenosha, WI; her playing schedule has blossomed as more and more folks hear her fine original music and outstanding vocals and guitar work. Ivy and the “fellas on the bandstand” as she calls them (Willie Rauch on bass and Dave Axen on drums) just played their first ever Chicago Blues Festival to rave reviews and a huge crowd. She played our Crossroads Blues festival in Rockford in 2018 and was showcased back in May 2019 at our Crossroads 25th Anniversary Show at the Timber Lake Playhouse in Mount Carroll, IL.

Harvesting My Roots features all original music. The album begins with the title track.  Ivy opens with an acoustic guitar modified to sound like a resonator and then adds electric guitar to the mix.  The song showcases her heritage, with divergent yet complementary roots from Africa and Norway in her parents. The music she learned from her father coupled with the independence and soul of her mom have produced an independent and confident woman who is grabbing the blues world’s attention.  The resonator varies from her live performances of the song and it is quite cool.  The electric guitar coming into the mix adds punch as she plays along with herself on the acoustic guitar.  The vocals are spot on in this blues song that pays tribute to Chicago Blues while taking them to a new level with both a Delta and modern vibe.

Ivy opens with piano on the next track entitled “Daddy Of Mine,” a slow blues where Ivy opens her heart to forgive her Dad and embrace him into her life. She soulfully sings, “There is no precious time to waste,” as she plays the piano with equal soul and feeling as her vocals.  It is a beautiful and moving piece. “One Life To Live” blends blues and a rockabilly vibe where Ivy again makes commentary that life is too short to be lived without enjoying it, so make this one shot count.  The guitar work is impeccable and the backline “fellas” drive the song along well. “Not In The Right Way” is straight up Chicago Blues, a song about a relationship that is not entirely going right. The guitar work and solo again shine and her vocals are spot on. “Devil Song” is a haunting and quite cool cut with some outstanding slide work by Ivy. The song shows Delta blues influences as Ivy howls and performs the lead vocals.

“Work For My Love” is next and the tempo rises significantly from the prior cut.  She keeps the slide out as she becomes blues shouter on this jumping number. She tells her man that he needs to do what the title says. Willie gets a nice bass solo in as Dave keeps the frenetic pace up on his snare. “Similar Street” follows; the tempo drops and Ivy belts out this soulful ballad. She sings in this restrained yet poignant piece that we all walk down similar paths/streets in our lives.

“Whiskey Love” is a great little tune Ivy has been featuring of late in her live shows.  Slow and deliberately paced, the tune is somber and quite interesting. Ivy again nails the vocals as she picks softly on guitar. She builds things up and then takes us down as she takes us home; beautiful stuff!  “Start A Fight” is a swinging number where she tells her man that love is all around and not to start a fight. He’s been talking to another woman and things don’t look right, so she decides maybe she should be the protagonist. Her vocals and guitar bounce along sweetly throughout as Rauch and Axen maintain a frantic but controlled groove.  “When Does It End” get a bit of a funky slower groove going as Ivy asks when will all the bad stuff will end and why don’t we just get along? A stinging guitar solo with backing vocals makes a great centerpiece before she builds up and take us home.  Nicely done!  A bonus track of the title cut live is included at the end.  This one is more in keeping with what we’ve heard in her live shows at the IBC.  Lots of dirty electric slide guitar, strident vocals and a super back beat by the fellas. They pick up the beat to finish up and then Ivy concludes things with a flair.

This album shows us how far Ivy has come in the last couple of years.  Musically, her work has improved and progressed; the album showcases her songwriting, guitar playing and vocals.  She is the ultimate show-person, and even in that regard she shows us that she’s taking things to a new level.  This is a superb album that far, far exceeds anything she’s done before.  We can see here that the future remains bright for Ivy and her band.  This album needs to be in your collection– go get it now because you will get years and years of listening pleasure from it.  I can’t wait to see where this talented young lady goes as she continues on her path to blues and music greatness– I wish her the best of luck, but her talents will carry her far further than luck will!

About the author: Steve Jones is the president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Rockford & Byron, IL

For info or to buy the CD:

 www.IvyFordMusic.com

 

 

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