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REVIEW: Anchors - J. Warrick Ford

From a living room couch amidst a pandemic six songs filled my ear canals and traveled through my bones and soul and left me wanting more. J. Warrick Ford is one half of Warrick and Lowell and is also a third of Chelsea Ford & the Trouble. Through a year of isolation, sheltering in place, and quarantining, he recorded this album. It’s all him. No bandmates helped. In true form he created a solo record. And, from my living room couch with headphones on the year of isolation became real.

Anchors feels like a narration of the pandemic. From when it first started to now with it not over, but we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of these songs were written more recently and some he had from years ago. Though, in sequence, they feel like they tell a story. There are mentions of sheltering in place and isolation, but there are also songs to a loved one about not saying the right things. The song “Summer” was one of the new ones, and from my couch I felt like it was telling the story of our pandemic summer. And, honestly just everything involved with these times we are in. Sort of like holding a mirror up to society and seeing what gets reflected. Then his baritone voice is overlayed onto these minor chords, that create for me at least, an honest look at the world.

Ford plays all the instruments on this album as well. There is banjo, guitars, bass, organ, piano, and drums. He told me, “I recorded the drums in a small room in my house with the drums crammed in the corner.” I love that. The idea of a something constricting leading to something grander in terms of creating, is something lovely. Along with the crammed drums there are also guitar solos. Yes, there are poignant songs on this, but they’re also loud. Loud in a way that makes sense for each song, not loud just to be loud. I feel like, and I did not ask him this, that the isolation may have led to getting loud because sometimes you must release pent up energy, and what better way than through a guitar solo. At the same time, it is nice to hear a solo, or some crashing cymbals just for the sake of hearing them. To make you feel something.

All of this from a gray couch where I sat and let the music wash over me. I felt like getting in my car and going for a drive, and I may still do that. There was one track on the record that I’m going to leave up to mystery, because we don’t have to know everything. A question banged around in my head “Who is the Prince of Jamaica, Queens?” When I sent Mr. Ford some questions, I purposely left this one out, because I love this song. Sure, maybe it is absolutely a person, however for me, maybe it’s a metaphor for something bigger. I prefer the mystery because that for me is a lot more fun.

These six songs captured a lot of emotions I’ve been going through. Maybe we’ve all been going through. Maybe for some none. Regardless, the songs are “made of sturdy stuff” as Ford says in the title track “Anchors.” That sturdy stuff gave way to a pleasant listen as my bones relaxed and for a half hour or whatever the run time had carried us off to the places I like to go. The beauty of music is we all have different reactions to it. The beauty is we can all listen to it and be moved in some way. J Warrick Ford on Anchors, through six songs simply does that. Take a listen, and most importantly, enjoy.

Take a listen to Anchors NOW!