Shoestring Review: Kristen Ford Band's "The Grindstone"
Last week I blogged about singer-songwriter Kirsten Opstad's brilliant January 14 appearance at Club Passim in Cambridge, MA, and in that post, I promised to give readers a closer look at Opstad's phenomenal opening act: Kristen Ford, Kara Kulpa and Kirsten Lamb of the Kristen Ford Band. Indeed, the entire Kristen Ford Band is the subject of this post as I give you my two cents on their new CD The Grindstone.
Kristen Ford Band: (Top row, L-R) Kristen Ford - Guitar and vocals, writer/producer; Ariel Bernstien - Drums and vocals; Kirsten Lamb - Upright Bass and vocals. (Bottom row, L-R) Kara Kulpa - Violin and vocals; Curtis Killian - Lead guitar and vocals. (all photos reproduced here courtesy of Kristen Ford)
Lead singer Kristen Ford's iron-strong voice & guitar playing both fuse with and diverge from the band's complex, multi-layered instrumentals in ways that both conform to and thwart one's notions of rock. Kara Kulpa's violin and Kirsten Lamb's upright bass, two sounds most associated with country and jazz respectively, dovetail beautifully with Ford, Ariel Bernstien's drumming and Curtis Killian's guitar. As a result, The Grindstone is solid from track 1 through 11 and boasts a playlist that revs you up, keeps you there, and gently brings you down at all the right moments. The effect is seamless and steady yet with enough acoustic surprises that never bores and it holds up to repeated playing.
In summation, Kristen Ford and Kristen Ford Band know music and how to utilize the best of the best musical traditions. They know what they're doing and do it damn well. So if you've overlooked the links in the first paragraph, here they are again bold and clear: buy the CD Grindstone, go see the band...NOW.
Additional credits, the following guest musicians also contributed to the phenomenal CD The Grindstone: Keith Hollis - Piano; Noah Maltsberger - Lead guitar; Hugh McGowan - Lead guitar; Valerie Thompson - Cello. Production team: Tom Bianchi - 24 Hour Studios in Somerville MA; Keith Hollis - Drop Site Studios in Somerville MA; Lee Madeloni - Long Distance Studios in Los Angeles CA; Roger Seibel - SAE Mastering in Phoenix AZ; Alex Salvi - Album Artwork; Alison Swiatocha - Photography and Design; Samantha Milowsky, Linq, Ally Burnett, Erin Gross, Rachel Kent, Unkl Stoo in Alabama, Laura Fox, Tucker Lewis, Davida Rochman, Mac Evans, Sooz, Shane Runquist, Samantha Edelheit, Mom, Dad and Dianne - Executive producers.