With over 35 albums under his belt, attention has to be given when Californian guitarist Robben Ford describes his new release as “one of the top recordings I’ve ever done.” It is a statement potently backed up by Into The Sun, a collection of songs entangled in flavours such as blues, rock ‘n’ roll, rock pop, and jazz. The album reveals a fresh diversity to Ford’s songwriting and musical adventure, taking the established potent essences of his renowned prowess into new feel good exploits. Most of all though Into The Sun is simply fun; inventive and as expected technically and creatively superb but most of all it is sheer enjoyment.
With a host of guests across the release, the Provogue Records album opens up with Rose Of Sharon, and an immediate sonic caress across a blues bred gait with slowly strolling rhythms to match. Keys and vocals quickly add to the smouldering tempting of ears and imagination, Ford quickly immersing the listener in the landscape and reflective heart of the song through voice and his already beguiling guitar enterprise. The track is a charming smooch of a song, an evocative sunrise to the album which shines with a brighter smile through Day Of The Planets. There is a great sixties breath to the second song, a rock pop essence with R&B spicing which soon has ears firmly enticed and appetite awake, whilst its classic nostalgic hooks just seals the deal .
Howlin’ At The Moon brings a dusty blues snarl to its sultry presence, capturing the imagination in a new adventure, whilst the following Rainbow Cover strolls into a creatively scenic rock pop exploit with landmarks as expected sculpted by the resourceful fingers and strings of Ford. Both tracks ignite the senses but are shaded by the excellent Justified featuring with Keb’ Mo’ and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph. The track has a gorgeous nostalgic feel to its otherwise vibrant character, a blues tone from decades past bringing rich hues to the mix of vocals and piano led sounds. Harmonies add further flaming whilst the craft of Randolph is a shimmering seduction amidst the excellent proposition.
The magnetic Breath Of Me with ZZ Ward comes next, the twining of Ford and Ward’s vocals alone worth the admission price whilst High Heels And Throwin’ Things which finds Gov’t Mule and Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes guesting, has one of those inventive shuffles and fiery landscapes which even in its subdued air has ears and thoughts gripped. Great vocals and the ever sweltering adventure of guitars has one virtually reaching to wipe a bead of perspiration from the brow such the thick exotic climate of the song, whilst across the album the melodic heat conjured more than lives up to its title.
A delicious heavy and lusty bassline marks out next up The Cause Of War first of all, it’s dark lure perfectly backed by firmly swung rhythms, a rich weave of simmering keys, and the contagiously diverse mesh of guitar textures and enterprise. The track takes favourite song honours, though it is constantly challenged as shown by the captivating So Long 4 U and its quaint stroll of keys. The track needs little time to seduce ears, especially when you add six-string slide legend Sonny Landreth to the line-up, though if I am honest it is that vintage twang of the keys which lights the biggest emotions.
The album comes to a close through firstly the spicy adventure of Same Train and finally the heavily enticing Stone Cold Heaven which features Southern rock musician Tyler Bryant. The song is ablaze with guitar craft and vivacity, bringing a fine album a potent finale.
Into The Sun shows a different aspect and direction to the Robben Ford sound in many ways but has all the heart and glowing essences of his sound, and of course all the technical majesty. For full enjoyment though…do play loud!
Into The Sun is out now via Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group @ http://www.mascotlabelgroup.com/robbenford-intothesun.html
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