tom-ingham
29th March 2013

Live: David Ford w/Emily Grove and Jarrod Dickenson

David Ford plays an intimate set with friends at Manchester’s Deaf Institute

24th March 2013

Deaf Institute, Manchester

8/10

Many a man will tell you, size isn’t everything. And that certainly applies to tonight’s Deaf Institute gig, which is one of my favourite venues, giving an intimate experience that audience and artist just can’t get in an arena. I have to admit I knew relatively little about David’s guests, Emily Grove and Jarrod Dickenson, but two hours later and a few EPs in hand all that had changed.

New Jersey girl Emily Grove was the first of the acts; backed by Jarrod and Ford she delivered a completely enchanting set, with her Cranberries-esque haunting vocal she had the complete attention of all. The highlights came from her Way Across The Sea EP, tracks like ‘Falling’ and ‘Flea’ demonstrating her wide ranging and a fragile vocal.

Next to take centre stage was red-bearded Texan Jarrod Dickenson, a rather different character, pulling off a confident, polished blend of country and folk. Although initially coming across slightly subdued, his witty and dry persona soon won me over, perhaps the title of his latest album The Lonesome Traveller sums his demeanour up best. His melodic finger picking, and soft but assured vocals were a perfect blend; I particularly loved ‘Rosalie’ which I’ve had spinning round my head ever since.

After playing everything from bass to piano, David Ford eventually took his turn to deliver. Although collectively the acts complement each other, David is probably at his best when alone with his Boss looping pedal – which didn’t actually feature too much tonight. Playing a mix from new album Charge and “worldwide classics of tomorrow” his set is an eclectic mix of folk, soul and more pop flavoured numbers like ‘Pour a little poisin’. However, the delicate ballad ‘Song for the road’ was the real hair-raising moment of the night, with Emily Grove accompanying on backing.

Anyone familiar with David’s infamous Milk and Cookies charity gigs will be aware of his ability to nail pretty much any cover – anything from Meatloaf to Boys II Men. Tonight saw he and the rest of the band cover The Band, with drummer Joey giving a gravely verse on sing-a-long classic ‘The Weight’.

The night is awash with humour and fun, despite all three’s major talents there is absolutely no hint of pretentiousness.  The night was rounded off with David giving everything on the autobiographical “Every Time” an emotional tale of how he nearly made it to the big time on Columbia Records. By no means is he bitter or resentful, as he says “I choose this motherfucker, and I’d choose it again”. And you can see why, the sense of community between all performers is delightful, all free to play what they like to their “enlightened and fertile” audience, bound by no-one else but themselves.

Tom Ingham

Tom Ingham

Music Editor

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