Robben Ford Brings the Blues to Nashville


Thousands of guitarists have made the pilgrimage to Nashville, yet Robben Ford is different. Fusing blues grooves to a jazz spirit, he’s earned five Grammy nominations, recorded numerous albums and worked as a sideman with Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, George Harrison and others.

Last year, the Northern California musician set aside just one day to come to Nashville to make an album. The fruits of his labor — simply titled A Day in Nashville — will be released Tuesday (March 4).

Ford chalks up the decision to practicality. His co-producer, bassist, drummer and trombone player all live in Music City. So does Audley Freed, a guitarist he’s wanted to play with for a while. Of course, that comfort zone can only stretch so far when the clock is ticking. Although the project doesn’t feel rushed, there is an urgency and spontaneity that flows through the music.

“A live feel is exactly what we were going for,” Ford tells CMT Edge. “Doing something like this in a single day, you can’t really think about it too much. You get the right people around you and just go for it, hoping for the best. Turns out we pretty much got it.”

One of the album’s anchors is “Top Down Blues.” The dynamic instrumental started as “kind of a jam thing,” Ford says, but in the studio, it evolved into a meaty, melodic number that lets his blues and jazz influences shine through.

Ford will return to Nashville early next week for two shows at 3rd & Lindsley, and he has tour dates scheduled through May. Be the first to hear Robben Ford’s “Top Down Blues.”