Grits & Soul

Spreading the Gospel of Southern Sound

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Jim Ford Segment on KET's Kentucky Life

Last summer my buddy, Linda Jean Stokley of The Local Honeys, asked me to work on a song with her for an upcoming project on KET’s (Kentucky Educational Television) Kentucky Life . Travis Kitchens of Emperor Records had been working up a segment on East Kentucky songwriter, Jim Ford. Game changer, y’all.

Taken from Travis Kitchens’ article on the  Kentucky for Kentucky blog .

Taken from Travis Kitchens’ article on the Kentucky for Kentucky blog.

Ford is a mysterious guy and from all accounts was always and ever a wild card, both as a songwriter and in real time. He went out to L.A. in the late 60s and recorded a couple of albums with the Wrecking Crew. There’s also a rumor that he actually wrote Ode to Billy Joe and gave it Bobbie Gentry. He passed away in 2006 and though not many people know who he is, we are lucky he left a hell of a legacy of fantastic, funky music—and there are people out there making sure he is rediscovered.

Here’s how it went down: Jim Ford, a musically minded country boy from rural Kentucky heads to the Golden State with dreams of making it. Making the scene in Los Angeles, he befriends and writes songs for such artists as Bobby Womack(“Harry Hippie”), Aretha FranklinP.J. ProbyThe Temptations, and even appears on Sly & the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On. He eventually hooks up with legendary session players Dr. JohnJim Keltner (John Lennon), and James Burton (Elvis Presley) and books into the equally legendary Wally Heider Recording Studios to cut an album of blue-eyed country-funk and soul. The year is 1969.

Linda called me just a few days before she was going into the KET studios to perform the song. She sent me her arrangement and we had a couple of practice sessions to get it like we wanted it. We went into the studio and sang the song through three times. It was the 3rd take that we hit a sweet spot and got the take they used for the show.

CLICK RIGHT CHERE to watch the Kentucky Life episode!

Born in Gossip County in Big Mouth, USA
Where the hypocrites preach in the streets all week
And they all meet in church on Sunday

The afterglow, as Colonel Sanders looks on. KET Studios. Director Tom Thurmon snapped this one for us.

The afterglow, as Colonel Sanders looks on. KET Studios. Director Tom Thurmon snapped this one for us.

Do me a favor. Just listen to Capitol album and see what you think (it’s my personal favorite):

jim ford capitol.jpg

Here’s some reading material if you’d like to dig a little deeper into Ford’s story:

Jim Ford: The Baddest Man on the Planet

Jim Ford | Dusted Magazine Reviews

Jim Ford | Harlan County


Summer Shows

Hey friends,

As you may know, for the past year we've been busy renovating an old house in Kentucky. After a solid 14 months of the ups and downs, the excitement, and impatiently waiting, we've finally moved in! 

If you'd like to see what all we got ourselves into, visit our house blog here or jump over to our Instagram account for the fast-track version. It feels both good and a little weird to finally be in the house. John and I are so happy to be in a place where we can look forward to enjoying our home instead of wondering what in the world is going to pop up next. She's done (for the most part) and now we get to live it up!

Our grand ol' lady, circa 1871. Visit us on  Instagram  for all the details!

Our grand ol' lady, circa 1871. Visit us on Instagram for all the details!

The most important room of the house: our music room!

The most important room of the house: our music room!

In the meantime, we've been working on new songs, collaborating with our friends here in the Bluegrass state and looking ahead to new musical projects!

We can't wait to share our new music with you! Over the past year, our focus has been our first loves: electric guitar, country blues & soul music. We still play a lot of acoustic music and bluegrass, but going back to what we grew up on has felt like home. It's like they say, it feels good to leave but it feels even better to come back.

Below is a list of the summer shows we're excited to have on the calendar!

Be sure to check our calendar here or on Instagram from time to time, because there's always something added to the mix last minute. You never know...

Like this'un...comin' in hot! July 14 & 15.

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We're looking forward to August, where we have the honor to perform at the Ralph Stanley Museum for their Home in the Hills concert series. John and I have been working up one of our favorite Stanley Brothers tune. Who's to say which one we love the most? Virginia is for lovers and we love it all.

In September, we're going on tour in North Carolina with our good friends, The Local Honeys. If you haven't heard them yet, you better hop on it!! They are two musical powerhouses and we can't wait to scorch the asphalt in the Tar Heel state. Watch out! You don't want to miss this.

See you on down the road --

A New Chapter

A new chapter for us...

At the first of the year, we began slowing things down so that we could have more time to write new material and concentrate on what we want musically. As we began considering all the possiblities for a new album, John and I couldn't deny that it was time for a big (and maybe a little scary...) step forward.

It's a bittersweet decision to move from Asheville, though we are very hopeful and excited to see what this next chapter will bring our way.

We are going to relocate to John’s hometown outside of Lexington to take advantage of well-earned downtime to stretch and challenge ourselves musically. We plan on doing something a little different for this next recording!

As you know, we have been traveling far & wide over the past few years promoting our Flood Waters album, from which we have learned and grown both personally and professionally -- I’m not so sure it would have worked as well for us anywhere else, except for Asheville. We are excited about the possibilities and know that the musical traditions of Western North Carolina we've absorbed in the past four years directly compliment Kentucky's own musical heritage, where they say everyone is issued a mandolin at birth...

We cannot say enough about the quality and character of the musicians and industry professionals in Western North Carolina. We became students of the rich regional culture and have loved promoting the state as we travel all over the world playing our music. We consider you family and we will miss everyone so much, though you will continue to see us often! 

So, thank you: thank you for your support, the opportunity to learn from you, and the friendship we will continue to carry with us. We'll be back often until the end of the year and beyond. 

Please continue to check back with us as we add shows in the area and have more news on our upcoming album. 

Look forward to seeing you! 

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