Give: T-Model Ford


Stolen wholesale from Deep Blues:

UPDATE! The good folks at have set up a PayPal button for donations towards T-Model’s care. You’ll find it in the top right corner of their page. Thanks Triggerman!


Hi y’all. I just talked to T-Model’s wife Miss Stella. As many of you know James “T-Model” Ford has unfortunately suffered another stroke over the past week. He is to undergo angioplasty and start physical therapy “soon.” Since the medical bills are adding up, and he is currently unable to work/play, the Ford family is seeking donations to help with expenses. At 91 years old, T-Model is one of the last Delta bluesmen of his generation. He’s also a heckuva tough old dude, and as he sings, “Nobody Gets Me Down!” Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and send him a little something if you can. (Red Paden is also talking about trying to put together a blues benefit for T down the road, so stay tuned on that.) Thanks.

James Ford
Routing# 084205708
Account# 4700445890
Planters Bank
424 Washington Ave
Greenville, MS 38701
PH: 662-335-5258
FX: 662-378-4429

James Ford
443 South 7th Street
Greenville, MS 38703

photo credit: Lou Bopp

Deep Blues Focus: Old Gray Mule featuring CW Ayon, Cashman

The Deep Blues Festival is tomorrow! I’m freaking excited. There will be great artists on stage, cool people in the audience, and it’s all going down at one of my favorite places in Cleveland. Come along and buy your favorite blogger a drink. And if your favorite blogger isn’t there, you can buy me a whiskey.

One more time, those details are: Deep Blues Festival, Beachland Ballroom, Saturday, July 16, doors at 4 PM.


Name:Old Gray Mule featuring CW AYON
Homebase: Austin, Texas/Las Cruces, New Mexico


Old Gray Mule with CW Ayon – My Girl

Old Gray Mule Official Website

CW Ayon @ Reverbnation


Name: Cashman
Homebase: Nashville, Tennessee


Cashman – Pistol Blues

Cashman @ Reverbnation


DBF Alumnus
T-Model Ford & GravelRoad


T-Model Ford & GravelRoad – Hip Shakin’ Woman – DBF08

Shouting Thomas Torment/T-Model Ford & GravelRoad at the Beachland Tavern, Cleveland, OH, 6.4.11


Shouting Thomas Torment



Sometimes you go to a show just hoping the opening act won’t be unbearable. Then sometimes you get something like Shouting Thomas Torment.

While sometimes situated in a group, Shouting Thomas and the Torments, Shouting Thomas was doing it one-man band style at the Beachland Tavern Saturday night. He immediately lived up to his name by shouting, showman style, from the moment he stepped on stage to the moment he stepped off. In between, he thumped the bass drum, drove the hi-hat and took the guitar from fuzzed-out punk blues to rockabilly twang, shook it all together and broke it all down. The set kicked off with “Struggle (Scratch That Itch)”, hit on a number of highlights like “Slave for My Cave”, “All Grown Up Wrong”, “Trouble Doll” and “Swamp Witch”, and closed out with “Shakey Shake #1”. There was also a Bo Diddley beat and a very respectable imitation of a chicken on the guitar.

(Shouting Thomas also made sure to mention a couple of 45s he had for sale: “Slave for My Cave” on a split with Wolfboy Slim and “Black Cat Bone” b/w “Trouble Doll”.)

I went in not knowing a single thing about Shouting Thomas Torment and came out an enthusiastic fan.


T-Model Ford & GravelRoad



One of my regrets from the Great Mississippi Sojourn I took last summer with co-blogger Jennifer and our friend Cam Rogers is that I didn’t spend an evening or two in a juke joint. Well, now I feel a little better because James “T-Model” Ford brought the juke to the Beachland. Aside from being about the right size and aesthetic for a Mississippi juke, the tavern also had about the right heat and humidity Saturday night. But it took T-Model to fill it with the right vibe and sound.

GravelRoad – this night being comprised of just guitarist Stefan Zillioux and drummer Martin Reinsel as bass player Jon “Kirby” Newman was under house arrest for undisclosed reasons – took the lead, playing a couple of their own numbers, showing why they make a great complement to Ford with their low, rough, electric blues-drag sound. Then Ford, who drew a crowd that covered a wide variety of ages and classes, took the stage, strapped on Black Mattie (his trusty Peavey guitar) and got hips to rolling in short order.

Best estimates place Ford’s age at 90, he has a pacemaker and has survived a stroke in recent years, but you’d hardly think it from watching him play. While a couple of his songs this night lasted less than 3 minutes, most of them ran well beyond the usual 5-minute mark, playing on the classic blues tradition of not letting a good groove go once you’ve got a hold of it. And groove is what it’s all about. Just fast enough to get your ass to swaying, but not too fast to keep your partner from holding on tight. This is why they call him the Tail/Tale Dragger. (And this is also probably part of why he calls himself the Ladies Man, because you can bet he was taking in as much of the body-grooving females in the audience as he could.)

While Ford was undeniably the star of the show, the support of GravelRoad should not be underestimated. Zillioux stayed tight in Ford’s wake through tunes like “I Love You, Baby”, “Hip Shakin’ Woman”, “Chickenhead Man” and “Train I Ride”, while Reinsel pummeled a tide of heavy beats that were more than a little responsible for the shaking of hips through the night. Not to mention, Reinsel looked like he was having the time of his life.


Video courtesy of Chris Bishop.


Now if there had just been some fried pickles and sweet tea…



For some absolutely beautiful shots of T-Model Ford’s recent show in St. Louis, Missouri, check out our friend Nate Burrell’s Flickr set.

T-Model Ford: Taledragger

The terms “gritty”, “raw” and “real” have been used so many times to describe blues musicians throughout the decades that it almost seem insulting to use them now, but when a 90-year-old (according to Alive Records, anyway – seems like he ages a year every three months) man playing a fuzzed-out guitar sings about putting his foot in your ass, terms like that are bound to come up. One of Fat Possum Records’ roster of “the last of the hill country bluesmen” out of northern Mississippi (which also included late greats Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside), Ford is said to have first picked up a guitar at age 58, and he’s not ready to put it down yet. (And despite lyrics about breaking arms and kicking asses, he’s reported to be a sweet guy and a real charmer.)

January 11, 2011, will see the release of Ford’s eighth album, Taledragger, with backing band GravelRoad, on Alive Records (on color vinyl [limited to 900 copies], 180 gram vinyl [limited to 100 copies and available exclusively by mailorder through Alive Records], as well as CD and digital formats). Have yourself a little preview:

T-Model Ford – Comin’ Back Home

Ford is out on the Juke Joints & Dive Bars of the South tour right now. Check him out if you are able.

12.9 White Water Tavern / Little Rock, AR

12.10 Hi-Tone Cafe / Memphis, TN

12.11 JJ’s Bohemia / Chattanooga, TN

additional dates to be announced

T-Model Ford @ Alive Records

Photo: Robert Matheu