I love the blues, and guitarist Robben Ford is one of my favorite blues guitar players. If you’ve ever read a guitar magazine, you’ve likely heard of him – but outside the blues and guitar communities he’s not well known. That’s a shame since he’s put out over 21 albums and 9 more with other musicians – including Larry Carlton, Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Michael Osbourne.
People often think that the blues is all the same. There’s no doubt that it can be, but as a genre of music there can be so much more than what is on the surface – in the same way as Jazz. I enjoy something when I can it goes beyond the “format” and I can say “wow, that was really good”. What I like about Robben Ford is that he writes his own lyrics, he’s a good singer, but most importantly it complements his amazing playing – which is an extension of his soul. The best guitar players have soul, tone, versatility, and dynamics – that can keep you on the edge of your seat for hours.
To me – this is the greatest difference between players like Joe Satriani or Steve Vai – and Eric Johnson or Stevie Ray Vaughan. Joe Satriani and Steve Vai are technically brilliant buy in my opinion are all flash and no soul, and normally no tone at all. Stevie Ray Vaughan are all about tone and dynamics, and their singing and song writing both complement their playing. Maybe it’s no coincidence that Vai doesn’t sing at all and Satriani – well, he tries to sing.
I want you to take moment to listen to these Robben Ford videos and listen to the chord voicings, the leads, the riffs, the dynamics, and the way it complements the overall song. The guitar, like a piano can have a voice all it’s own that creates a visual tapestry unlike any other single instrument except the piano.
Robben Ford – Worried Life Blues
Robben Ford – Nothin’ but the Blue
Robben Ford – Supernatural
Robben Ford – How Deep in the Blues do you Want to Go?
Robben Ford – Indiana Blues
Now that you’ve seen him in action – watch this video which will explain his (jazz) chord voicings – and why he plays the way he does….maybe it will make you think a bit differently about your own playing…
Robben Ford Clinic – Mixing Jazz with Blues Chords
I absolutely LOVE Robben’s new album “Soul on Ten” and I’ve probably heard it 10 times this week alone. I highly suggest you get it:
You can also get the MP3 version for download as well: