The economic theory of austerity is a relatively simple one to explain. Spend less, in a nutshell. David Ford has a history of adopting such a policy when it comes to releasing records, or at least his record companies have.
Ever since his second album Songs for the Road ran into such difficulties, Ford has self-financed his subsequent three records. Now there is a sixth in the offing, Animal Spirits, the theme of which is macroeconomics and how if anyone tells you they can predict the economic cycle they’re lying.
You could be mistaken to think that such a storyline is a bold statement about the funding position the Eastbourne originating singer/songwriter finds himself in.
Not so, confirmed Ford in subsequent conversation, it’s simply a subject he finds fascinating and wanted to explore. So how do you bring Keynesian economics to the musical masses?
Ford started with a sequence of songs that set the tone for the rest of the gig, hard hitting, melodic with stand out, rasping vocals reminiscent of Tom Waits or even, and close your eyes, Rod Stewart. Downmarket, The Ballad of Miss Lily and Waiting for the Storm were the perfect openers.
Ford’s band for the tour include Magic Numbers’ bassist and singer Michele Stoddard together with emerging ‘guitarist extraordinaire’ Jon Paul Ruggieri. Both support acts for the evening had rotated vocals, Ruggieri to open, Stoddard next up. Both were solid support, Ruggieri especially displaying a dexterity and passion that shone through, but there is a reason why Ford is the star of the show, the Chancellor of the Exchequer if you will.
The new album is imminent, ‘as soon as he can work out how to finance it’, and if title track Animal Spirits and Real Damn Slow are the showpieces then austerity should be thrown out of the window, this music needs to be heard, especially the guitar riff on the latter. Ford has built up a loyal following through relentless touring alongside the album releases and it’s the familiar Pour a Little Poison and Why Don’t You Answer Your Telephone that rouse some of the biggest responses from the crowd.
There is no encore, Ford warned us of that, but the band finish their set with making The Knack classic My Sharona their own. It’s the perfect foil for Ford’s voice and his assembled band.
Ford warned, tongue in cheek that it could take years for Animal Spirits’ ‘full majesty’ to shine through, possibly decades. By then the economy will have gone through various economic cycles, markets will fluctuate, crash and recover.
But there will be one constant, that be it through The Treasury or scurrying to look down the back of the sofa, the musical currency of the UK will be a better place once this record does see the light of day and Ford can remain on what has been and should continue to be an upwards only trajectory.