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Out of Nowhere, a Bold Statement

David Ford's music may be reminiscent of Damien Rice's at times, but his influences stretch farther back.
David Ford's music may be reminiscent of Damien Rice's at times, but his influences stretch farther back.

It's hard not to describe up-and-coming British singer-songwriter David Ford as "The New Damien Rice": From his expressive vocal style to his deliberate sense of pacing, Ford brushes past a lot of Rice's signifiers on his debut CD. They even share a creative way with the F-bomb, but it's not that simple. Ford's influences clearly reach beyond Rice to a long line of honest, outspoken songwriters: Jeff Buckley, Leonard Cohen, Cat Power, Jackson Browne, Kurt Cobain, and on and on.

"State of the Union" finds Ford at his crankiest and most distinct, as he crafts a bitter, paranoid screed — "With friends like these, well, who needs politicians?" — that still mixes the personal and political while still sounding strangely lovely. There's something compelling about a new artist who shows up with nothing to lose: singing for his life and carving out an identity while using the platform he's been given to say the things he's always wanted to say.

Many singer-songwriters come and go in a hurry, but for those who manage to come back and stick, it's got to be hard to maintain that level of intensity and vulnerability day after day — having to create and re-create a raw, personal moment as if it were new, time and time again. It's hard not to worry about David Ford, and that's a high compliment.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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A nationally recognized tastemaker with a broad knowledge of and passion for music, Rita Houston shapes the musical direction of WFUV's acclaimed City Folk® format. With the help of staff, Houston selects the songs that become part of City Folk®, establishes theme days and creates popular features like "New Release Monday" and "Guilty Pleasures Day." Well-known for her rapport with artists, she books the on-air interviews, hosting a number of them herself. Houston also serves as executive producer of the nationally distributed City Folk Live concert series, and produces annual benefit CDs of performances from WFUV's Studio A.