Ben Ford-Davies: In The City
Ben Ford-Davies’ EP, In The City, features five tracks that showcase his considerable vocal talents, within the context of some attractive full-band arrangements. In recent times, Ford-Davies has been playing his music in places near and far, honing his craft while gigging in various formats. He is currently settled in Adelaide, his home town, and is keeping himself busy with a slew of live performances.
The CD begins with the title track, and it is quite clear that there is something to like here. It’s contemporary, intelligent and immediately familiar, without sounding derivative. A heavier sound greets the listener at the front-end of This Road Together; it soon settles down, however, and continues to establish the mood that pervades the entire disc. As with the opener, this number features some agreeable, understated backing vocals. The catchy nature of the somewhat bouncy chorus is memorable.
Just A Man might be the strongest effort on offer here. The lower-key approach to the music allows Ford-Davies’ voice to shine. Hands Of Faith has a cool groove, reminiscent of another, earlier, time, and the sax solo emphasises the song’s lounge credentials. The show closes with So Many Times, a number that underlines the maturity and proficiency of the project.
Occasional insertions of piano and cello provide subtle musical augmentation to the more standard, but no less enjoyable, guitars, drums and bass. The whole ensemble provides light and shade, rather than bashing the recordings into submission. As is to be expected, Ford-Davies’ voice and guitar remain at the centre of the works presented on this disc.
Ford-Davies wrote two of the five songs featured on In The City, and co-wrote one other. The title track, along with Just A Man, demonstrates that he’s no slouch in the songwriting department. Although many of the lyrics are plaintive, the overall strength of the compositions never allows them to become maudlin.
In summary, this CD provides an insight into the not-inconsiderable performing and writing talents of one of Adelaide’s re-emerging artists. Ford-Davies’ voice is very easy to enjoy, and the songs presented here provide an ideal vehicle for doing so.
Ben Ford-Davies performs at Governor Hindmarsh Hotel on Sat Feb 7.
Book at The Gov on thegov.com.au.
Image courtesy of Chris Davies