Ivy Ford – Time To Shine
10 songs – 45 minutes
A nominee in the Sean Costello Rising Star category in this year’s Blues Blast Music Awards, Ivy Ford Ghera doubles on vocals and guitar as she fronts this tight three-piece band in a follow up to their well-received, but limited debut release, Live NYE 2016.
Possessing a warm, rich, honey-sweet alto and wielding a cherry-red Epiphone 339, Ivy’s a young mother based out of Waukegan, Ill. She’s a self-taught multi-instrumentalist who can also double on bass, keyboards, sax and drums. Her professional career began at age 13 when she started working with Steve Rainey’s The Real Deal Band out of Kenosha, Wis., 15 miles to the north.
The roots of her current ensemble were planted when she joined a band in her hometown in 2012. Now known as “Chicago’s Blues Kitten,” she’s toured extensively throughout the U.S. and has become a Windy City fan favorite with frequent appearances at Buddy Guy’s Legends as well as other area clubs and events. And when not fronting her own band, she handles bass in support of Chicago Blues Hall Of Fame honoree J.B. Ritchie.
Ford credits Ritchie with schooling her in the blues tradition. While her music remains close to the root, she’s got a modern approach that incorporates R&B and roots. She’s backed here by bassist Willie J. Rauch and drummer Dave Axen in a collection of 10 tunes she penned herself.
“Time To Shine” opens with a brief guitar intro before Ivy delivers a lesson about living to a loved one, that he should never allow anyone to treat him wrong and that he should always be his own best friend. A medium-fast shuffle with a simple, but effective arrangement, the song comes across with a gospel feel once the rhythm section kicks in after the first verse, and Ford’s voice sounds much more mature than most 25-year-olds.
Ivy gets funky and shows off her skills on the fret board for the percussive “Tell Me You’re Sorry,” in which she tells a lover his apologies are falling on deaf ears, before urging a man to pick up a six-string and “Gimme That Guitar” if he wants to win her heart, driving the message home with her own single-note, stop-time solo mid-tune.
The pace slows slightly for “Baby Come Home,” another message of love that’s delivered atop another pleasant, propulsive beat, before the funk returns full force with “Hate To Have To Go.” The tension builds off of a five-note guitar hook before Ford’s voice enters to announce she needs a little break and that the absence will make hearts grow fonder. The theme continues in “Ain’t Had Enough Of You.” It’s a sweet ballad despite describing pitfalls in the relationship.
The mood brightens considerably as Ivy launches into “Girls Night,” an uptempo blues-rocker that gives her space to rip on run, which flows into the loping and soulful “Mr. Right,” a tune that describes the singer’s ideal man, while “Mama Don’t” kicks up the funk, dealing with a lady who doesn’t want to wait for her man too long. The set ends with “Don’t Handle Me,” a cautionary message to a lover that the singer’s making all the rules.
Available through Amazon or direct from the band website (address above), Time To Shine truly does. All of the songs here are fresh and deeply rooted in the blues. And Ivy Ford is a force to be reckoned with in a world that’s increasingly lacking in blues traditionalists. Hop on her bandwagon with this one. You’ll be glad you did.