In the more than 12 years since Buck Ford launched his career in country music, releasing his debut album, “Guitar and Gasoline” in 2009, he has naturally matured as an artist and a man.
He has released four Nashville-produced albums and will be releasing his latest, “I’m Gettin ‘There,” in the coming weeks, shortly after he and his backing band performed at Cool Patch Pumpkins in Dixon on Sunday. , a show dubbed “Solano Family First Responders.
Ford, 31, born in Fairfield but raised in the countryside of Vacaville, has just released a new single, “Savin ‘the Planet (One Beer at a Time)”, from the 13-song album. A second single, “Heart That’s Gonna Break”, will air on air and social media on October 15th.
Speaking of singles, as he did earlier this week in a phone interview from his home in Fairfield, “the biggest change” for him has been fatherhood. He married his wife Brooke in September 2018 and they now have two sons aged 2 and 3 months.
“Certainly being a daddy was the biggest change,” Ford said, his voice still ringing baritone depths that haven’t changed. “But another is knowing what it takes to be a part of this (country musician’s) life.”
“I’m still the same guy,” he added. “It’s harder for me to leave (my house) now, but it’s my job and it’s what I do. “
Saying “I’ve been at it for a long time,” Ford explained that he continues to learn songs and also the more granular details that come with a long-term commitment to his art, largely defined by the so-called ” Bakersfield Sound ”performed by the late Buck Owens and the late Merle Haggard, who are more or less credited with the genesis of sound, and a good measure of Texan twang.
He maintains a busy touring schedule, but noted that his long period of relying on the sounds of his idols – besides Haggard they include Lefty Frizzell and George Strait, among them – cannot help but lead to a maturity that now informs his own repertoire, his styles of guitar and songwriter. And also the personal determination to keep getting on buses or various vehicles and going to auditoriums, festivals, casinos and engagements such as Cool Patch Pumpkins.
“You have ups and downs,” Ford said, philosophically, supported by experience. “But the few ups I’ve been through makes me think that’s why I’m still in it.”
He plays with an accompaniment unit that tends to be a bit older than him, musicians who grew up listening to and absorbing Haggard’s mid-20th century blue collar poetry about workers trying to make a living, finding and losing love, and pulling personal meaning amid a parched, windswept Southern California landscape of cattle ranches and oil rigs that, to this day, appear to have been in a period of perpetual drought.
The band members, who have mostly changed over the years, include Alex Chaney, guitar; Aaron Smith, drums; Josh Needlemen, bass; Ronnie Elkan, violin; and Steve French, steel pedal guitar, the latter instrument contributing to Ford’s own twang credentials.
The music is by turns melancholy and catchy, a mixture which can be, on the one hand, highly dancing and, on the other hand, ruminating, as he sings to one of his signature tunes, with the lyrics “bringing this real country sound is back alive ”and“ defend the workers and the good old people of this country ”.
As he did on his band’s debut album, a 10-track record recorded at the Soundfarm studio in Vacaville, featuring six songs written by Ford, the other records also tend to celebrate the staple of country song lyrics: tight jeans on pretty girls, washing down a hot day at work with a cold beer, vans, and the pleasures of country and western music itself, sometimes referred to by its essential ingredients: “three chords and the truth”.
A tall, thin, and sometimes bearded man with jet black hair typically tucked under a baseball cap or Stetson hat, Ford began his foray into country music after giving up a promising career in motocross. While on the professional bike tour, where he broke many bones, he played guitar and sang songs he heard playing around the house, tunes by Strait, Haggard and Craig Morgan. Then, one day, after seeing and hearing Morgan live, he chose a new career path and never looked back on a motorcycle. In a previous interview with Reporter, he said the risks of the sport did not match the rewards.
Although he is particularly popular in the Central Valley, where he has gained many fans, Ford said he is now “sprawling” on tour, which includes dates in the Northwest and elsewhere, but conceded that “Sacramento and Northern California” remained its home port.
When asked if he would hire a vocal coach to keep his buttery baritone in tip-top shape, Ford said he had but also kept an ear open while collaborating with other musicians, learning to preserve and to protect his voice.
Oh, and is there a Christmas album in the works?
“I’m definitely planning a Christmas record,” he said firmly. “If it’s not this year, then 2022 or 2023.”
IF YOU ARE GOING TO:
Buck Ford performs at 4 p.m. Sunday at Cool Patch Pumpkins, 6150 Dixon Ave., in Dixon.
For more information, visit https://solanofamilyfirstresponders.com or www.buckford.com.