By Rick Coates
Real country musicians have an edge and attitude. Just ask Colt Ford, the
Georgia-based former professional golfer turned country singer. Of course,
Ford has to have an attitude since his way doesnt fit the corporate
profile Nashville looks for in todays country superstars.
Yeah you could say I am on the outside looking, said Ford. Country
music today is still using that big corporate model that was developed in
the 80s where they tell you how to look, sound and what to do. There are
very few independent country artists that have much success. It is a very
corporate world with a few people making all the decisions.
Ford is frustrated trying to find his place.
I dont want to be on the outside looking in but they (Nashville) have
left me no choice, said Ford. Now the Internet with YouTube, Facebook,
Twitter etc. has allowed a person like me to even exist. I have not been
able to have much radio airplay and that is frustrating when you look at
the fact that I have over two million downloads and 800,000 CDs sold
without ever having a song in the top 50. What I am doing goes against all
their rules in Nashville.
LEGIONS OF FANS
Despite lack of radio support and full embrace from Nashville, Colt Ford
has built up legions of fans. Those fans will gather this Sunday (August
14) at the Southside Hideout in Buckley (at their outdoor festival
grounds) for a show that will feature seven acts including the newly
formed Kenny Olson Cartel with Paris Delane, Detroit country-rap crooner
JoCaine, and Northern Express Readers Choice Best New Band 12 Year
The challenge Ford has met has come as a result of being labeled a
country rapper. A title he does not like or feel is deserved.
I dont get the typecast. What I am doing has been a part of country
music going way back to Hank Sr. I didnt create something new talking and
recitation records have been a part of country music since its inception
and certainly putting words together that rhyme has been a part of all
music forever, said Ford. All this started way before Colt Ford came
along, Bill Anderson never sang nothing, Big John, Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed
and Charlie Daniels all those guys if you listen closely to their stuff it
aint no different then what I am doing.
But the country-rap moniker has followed the 300-pound singer and former
professional golfer since he traded his golf spikes and driver for cowboy
boots and a microphone.
It is funny because I get called a country rapper because a lot of radio
wont play me. It makes a lot of people throw up a red flag immediately
and not want to give my songs a fair listen. So if someone listens to my
music and says its not country then we have totally different definitions
of country music, said Ford. What I dont get is I will go into a town
and sell a few thousand advance tickets and the local radio stations still
wont play my stuff, have me on the air, and in some cases they wont play
commercials promoting the show. I just dont get it.
Ford points to radio being corporate and air personalities lacking
personality, creativity and the ability to think for themselves.
The way I see it a lot of these people in radio today wont have a job in
five years; they lack creativity, they are not introducing people to new
music, they are not finding out what is going on in their community, they
are just robots talking into a microphone, said Ford. So when they are
out of a job I will still have people coming to see me play because I have
fans that I have been loyal to them and they have been loyal to me. I am
not going to change who I am to fit their corporate expectations, I am
going to be who I am and most people want that real genuine artist and
they seem to be finding me without radio.
That image started out first as a professional golfer.
That was 100 pounds ago. I was athletic in high school and had college
scholarships for golf and baseball and I chose golf figuring I could make
a living at it. But I also grew up playing music, said Ford. I was
trying to do both golf and music at the same time and it was hard to do
both because with music I was going to bed about the time I would have to
get up for golf. They are totally different lifestyles.
After finishing at the University of Georgia, Ford pursued a professional
career on the Nationwide Tour and giving lessons when he was not touring.
He was also half-heartedly keeping one foot in a music career.
My wife finally told me I needed to pick one or the other, that I was
essentially doing both half ass, said Ford. So I decided to change to
music to see if that might work better for me.
Ford had one problem: Jason Farris Brown.
Yeah that was my birth name and my wife was saying I couldnt become a
country singer using that name, said Ford. She said you need to have
something cooler, and then she just spit out like Colt Ford. It was the
coolest name I had ever heard.
Colt Ford shrugs off the naysayers and just chuckles.
Now anyone who knows me knows that Colt Ford is exactly who I am. I am
more comfortable in my skin now than I was ever before, said Ford. For
me it is all about the music, in the end I believe the music will win out,
put whatever labels you want on me but my fans know I am country music all
Colt Ford will perform his hits Cold Beer, Chicken & Biscuits, and
Country Thang, Sunday August 14 at the Southside Hideout in Buckley.
Info and tickets: www.zunitickets.com or call Southside Hideout at