Marc Ford Holy Ghost
By Gerry Gomez
“I see Blue Skies from now on,” sings Marc Ford in the song “Blue Skies” from his recent solo release, Holy Ghost on the Naim Edge label. The fifth solo effort from Ford is a chill meditation on a life lived through extremes as he cruises into a self reflective period that bears the fruit of a wise sage. Light and dark are examined on Ghost and as the album art – a low contrast, honest portrait of Ford with piercing, weary eyes exhibits – the songs seem to follow Ford’s journey of self enlightenment to the place where he can look back over the years and put his life on the examination board as he tries to answer the ultimate question: Why am I here?
An artist searching for answers, the collection of songs seem to lay out almost like a 12-step program of a man going from exploitation and abuse to admittance/confrontation and resolution to finally acceptance and ultimately asking forgiveness from those who he loves and who love him back. For a mature artist who’s looking for the light, Holy Ghost is a brave and barring journey full of life lessons and realization.
In the album’s opener, “All Over You,” Ford sings, “You can’t hurt me now, I’m all out of tears…I have reached an end of feeling so blue. You can’t hurt me now, I’m all over you.”
“You Know What I Mean” follows in suite to illustrate those around him who have less-than-virtuous motives: “Float past the garden all burned out and hardened are cheaters and martyrs and the stories they’ve told. (What ) once had been growing with life overflowing is withered and weary, lonely and cold…Jealousy creeps on the scene…people are people and people get ugly and mean, if you know what I mean.”
At the point of realization with the demons of his past and resolution with himself, Ford exuberantly breaks free in “I’m Free.” He realizes, “I was living in the shadow, I was catching my breath,” to hopefully proclaiming, “I can see what meant for me. And I’m Free!”
Once free from the shackles that previously bound him, Ford seems to be humble enough to ask forgiveness of someone very special to him in “In You” and the achingly repentant “Call Me Faithful,” where he sings, “How could I have ever taken you for granted? How could I have treated you unkind? Like a castaway, you just sat there stranded, hoping I’d make up my foolish mind. So call me faithful. Call me true. Call me in the distance, I’m coming back to you.”
Knowing that Ford has been to the top of rock stardom – he’s earned the nickname “Marc F**king Ford” for his guitar prowess, first acclaimed with the Black Crowes on The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion and seen the dark side of addiction, Ford embraces a renewed spirit and sober soul that he peppers into his other songs in-between his confessional ones. Songs such as the single, “Blue Skies” and “Dancing Shoes” visit an upbeat Ford at the current state of his life journey.
There’s a unaffected approach to the songs on Ghost perhaps driven after so many years on the accelerator? Rather than over-the-top guitars, instead we hear a liberal use of self-reflection via the arranger and producer side of Ford. Working with the excellent British group Phantom Limb, the album has an old school, peaceful, easy feeling to many tunes that prop up the gravitas of the album’s lyrics. The end result gives the album a particular harmony that one would find with singer-songwriters of the early 70’s, yet perfectly welcome in Ford’s cannon.
If anything, the approach to this album reflects the honesty in Ford and his music. An honesty that’s very welcome in a really well-crafted, long-in-the making album. An album only possible as a result of the path Ford’s life has taken having been given a gift or “light” as he may call it. Marc Ford was given that light to raise others spirits. He was first given the ability, then given his experiences, and in turn, he’s given us an insight into that life via his words.
To buy the record, visit: www.marcfordmusic.com