Up until the recent release of her very first solo effort, Kissing Booth,
has been what you might call a gun for hire. As a member of bands like Hundred Year Flood and Broomdust Caravan as well as countless appearances on records from the likes of Jamie Russell, Boris McCutcheon and Tiho Dimitrov, the most gifted Santa Fe vocalist (you heard me) has slowly but surely carved a niche for herself as one of the most reliable and versatile voices around.
Way back in 1999 while performing guest vocals with Austin, Texas folk-rock act ThaMuseMent, Ford impressed Frogville Records' John Treadwell who happened to be in the audience.
"Hundred Year Flood was playing that night as well, and Big John started to record our live shows after that," she recalls.
The connection led to a longtime collaboration with Frogville as well as Ford's relocation to Santa Fe. Over the next 10 years, HYF would release five records and record a sixth that never saw the light of day, though tracks "Hurricane" and "So Close" from that final effort wound up on Kissing Booth.
But Ford's music career wasn't always rock bands and indie labels. The performer says she's been singing since she was very young.
"I had a babysitter who was a USO performer, so she had this PA and would sometimes put me behind the mic...by the time I was 6, I knew the piano and by the time I realized my tiny Texas town of Big Spring didn't have a whole lot to do I was always singing," Ford says. "I needed the escape of music, and I went on to win the Miss Texas Teen pageant and got to travel; and I think I must've sungin every state."
When she was 18, Ford was recruited to sing in commercials for a so-called jingle house in Dallas. "Most of the singers were in their 40s, but I was much younger," Ford tells SFR. "If they needed a more rock or pop sound, they'd hire me, so I was singing in these KFC commercials and really rocking out." While in Dallas, Ford suffered a terrible accident when a balcony collapsed and pinned her underneath. She was left in traction and unable to perform or properly sing for an entire year. Says Ford,"This was in '91 or '92, and it changed my entire trajectory…I knew I wanted to be in a rock band, so I moved to Austin and started as a backup singer for my neighbors—they just happened to be in a band—almost immediately." Ford would start numerous bands of her own over the next several years, but it wasn't until 1996 when she met Bill and Jim Palmer that anything would truly stick. "They started out as backup for me, actually, but
for this one show their band, The Sharecroppers, couldn't play, and we'd already been playing together and we knew all these songs, so we just played and it was amazing," Ford says.
Boom. Full circle-ish. The band would move to Santa Fe, strike up that aforementioned Frogville relationship and the rest is, how they say, history. Which brings us to now and the release of you'd expect from the Frogville camp (semi-rockin' Kissing Booth. While the album is exactly what folk and an almost indie sound), Ford has managed country-western tunes melded with Americana, to stand head and shoulders above her label-mates with songs that effortlessly move from restrained beauty to a full-on rock and roll, and all parts in between. "It was very therapeutic for me to write these songs and get a lot of these feelings out," says Ford.
Ford has also forged a relationship with Kokopelli Music, a company dedicated to showcasing great Americana and country music to Dutch audiences. "I want to use my music to travel and maybe open some doors for my players," she says.