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Music to the ears CD Reviews  “On The Other Side”


Dwayne Ford the composer serves Dwayne Ford the performer very well on his newest CD release. Ford's gifted musical talent combines nicely with a soaring backdrop of choral and orchestral arrangements to make this eight-track collection a real pleasure to listen to. A professional musician since age 16, Ford brings considerable talent to the table in the form of superb vocal work. ‘Any Fool With A Gun’ is the CD's first single. There could easily be more.

Paul Rellinger - myKawartha.com

Some Summer Rock Solid Discs

Dwayne Ford’s "On The Other Side" is a contrast to the previous as gasoline is to brake fluid. Obviously one makes you go but the other is necessary to stop. Both essential elements on life’s journey using combustion propelled vessels. And Dwayne Ford will make you stop, stop and listen to the feel, the sound, the lyrical sociological rhetoric. Dwayne Ford has a jazzy feel mixing elements of Enigma, Hornsby and eastern influences. "On The Other Side" is beautifully arranged with such stunning background vocals it draws you in so close you can feel the street. Dwayne’s voice has a harmonious quality all on its own but again the added level of arrangement I can not let go as it just elevates these songs. "Any Fool With a Gun" is brilliant and its message rings loud and clear. "Rio Stat" and "Any Fool With A Gun" done a second time instrumentally let you sit back and just soak it all in. If you got a happy place, you’re there, if not, this is the map. My favorite song without a doubt is "Somebody Ought To". This is a story Dwayne weaves through a melody gritty enough to stand alone in the darkest corners. A day in the life of a tortured soul. Add in the choral background, super slick guitar solo and I’m done. It will affect you..

Fraser Wareham - Moose Jaw Times

“On The Other Side” by Dwayne Ford

With a relaxed yet soulful voice, perfectly suited to his original Adult Contemporary songs, Dwayne Ford's new CD, "On the Other Side" is a smooth blend of Soft Rock & pop influences delivered with fitting and understated polish. Befitting a music veteran with such an accomplished resume (he has worked with the likes of David Foster, Toto & Donovan, among others), the award-winning singer-songwriter's gift for melody and crafting meaningful lyrics is front and center on this 8-song collection. "East Side Girls" with its female chorus, has a classic jazzy sound reminiscent of Steely Dan, while title-track, "On the Other Side" shimmers with an ethereal vibe that's both grounded and other-worldly. CD-opener "Please Don't Say You Care" with caressing strings and engaging hook, plays to Ford's strengths as a singer, while the final tune, "Who Did You Do To Us" with its more insistent rhythm and gorgeous organ fills, simply leaves you wanting more. Mixed between arresting melodies from beginning to end, two instrumentals showcase a stellar studio band, as well as spotlighting Ford's arranging prowess. An album that's ultra radio-friendly – in a good way, Dwayne Ford's "On the Other Side" CD is sure to please Adult Contemporary & Easy Listening listeners.

Local songwriter Ford happily stuck in the '80s

At age 59, Dwayne Ford is going indie.

His 40-plus-year career may include highlights such as playing alongside Ronnie Hawkins and David Foster and releasing albums through big labels like CBS and Epic on his own and with his outfit Bearfoot, but times have changed and the music business isn't what it used to be.

For the release of his latest solo effort, “On The Other Side”, Ford is coming to grips with having to take the plunge without a safety net.

"Nobody gets a manual on how to be an indie artist," Ford admits. "Back when I was recording albums for CBS, they took care of everything --all you had to do was plug your guitar in and play. You didn't have to worry about any of the details that modern indie artists have to worry about today.

"This is really my first indie release where we're pulling out all the stops and actually doing it properly. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of reaction we get from this."

In June 2000, Ford left beautiful Palm Springs, Calif., and returned to his hometown of Edmonton, where he opened his own recording studio and started composing music for film and television.

But when you're a writer and composer of Ford's calibre, you can only take a break from your own personal material for so long, and Ford is now coming back to the fold with a vengeance.

Of course, he isn't really doing it all by his lonesome.

‘On the Other Side’ benefited from the help of a few other seasoned local musicians, including backing vocalists Rhonda Whitnell and Shelly Jones and producer/guitarist Louis Sedmak, while also getting a funding hand from Rawlco Radio and Magic 99.

‘On the Other Side’ is heavily influenced by the production stylings of the '80s, dipped in not-so-subtle hints of synth-heavy Phil Collins, political overtones a la Bruce Cockburn and Peter Gabriel, and delivered with Momentary Lapse of Reasonera Pink Floyd flair.

In this day and age--when the decadent decade's style is once again all the rage-- ‘On the Other Side’ could be a marketing agent's dream. Just slap a tongue-in-cheek "retro" tag on it, and the rest would be history.

"Every time I listen to it, I just laugh because it is so stereotypically '80s," Ford says. "Maybe that production style is just something I find easy to do.

"I'd love to be able to lie and say, 'Yeah, I did that intentionally,' so that I don't look like I'm stuck in the'80s," he adds, laughing. "Very often I'm as surprised as anyone else when a song ends up sounding the way it does. Not everybody is going to like all of my music and I have to come to grips with that horrible reality. But there are also people who love it. I'll just take what I can get."

Though Ford contends “On the Other Side” isn't meant as a war-themed album, the record does tackle more than a few issues stemming from the Middle East wars via the trilogy of “Somebody Ought To”, the title track and “Please Don't Say You Care”, while also taking swipes at prostitution (East Side Girls) and random street violence (Any Fool With a Gun).

"As a composer and writer, when you're looking for food for thought and inspiration, it's easy to get it from the realities of war. It's pretty serious business and it brings up all kinds of emotions.

"It's not my job to change the world. It's my job to write music that people like and that I like. If in the process of doing that I can bring about some positive change, that's even better. That's a win for me and for everybody."

Francois Marchand - The Edmonton Journal (August 5, 2009)

Keeping it Westcoast for just a little bit longer as I tell you about the recent Japanese reissue of the classic Dwayne Ford album "Needless Freaking". The word "Classic" was made for this album. With a cast of musicians that includes David Foster, Steve Lukather, Jay Graydon, Mike and Jeff Porcaro and Mike Baird; a production that sounds like a million dollars (courtesy of Ford, Foster and Ken Friesen) and eight of the best songs to ever grace the Westcoast genre, this album should have made Dwayne Ford a household name, or at least on a par with the likes of Christopher Cross. Sadly it didn't. While the Inferior Cross went onto superstardom (thanks to the film "Arthur") Dwayne Ford languished in obscurity. Still, this album is a timely reminder of how talented a guy Ford is. Check out "Lovin' And Losin' You", "Am I Ever Gonna Find Your Love" or "There's A Life In Me" and tell me I'm wrong. I got my copy from Amazon - check 'em out.

Rob Evans - AOR Underground Powerplay Magazine (issue 77)

This one really came out of the blue, but a much welcomed release it is!    “SOME DAY”

Not in the same Westcoast/AOR style as his 1981 masterpiece "Needless Freaking" and far from the same budget and without musicians like Steve Lukather, David Foster and Jeff Porcaro. But he has together with friends come up with a great recording that has a good production and an overall fresh and vital vibe. He describes his music being close to the likes of Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Sting and U2, which isn't far from the truth, but I think the best comparison would be Marc Cohn. So if you are into the latter this is without question an album for you, all songs are great, even though I could do without two versions of "Military Delight" and the cover of "Scarborough Fair". Highlights for me are "Roses in the Morning", "Some Day" and "God I'm Glad to Be Here".

Progman at  Melodic.net

Dwayne Ford brings a professional resume to his album "Some Day".

It is largely progressive adult contemporary, but is vast in it's style and influence. You'll hear elements of jazz, blues, classical, and contemporary to name a few. Mr. Ford's vocals are strong, passionate, and appropriate for the concept of the sound. The arrangements are high-caliber and the production quality is top notch. Highlights are the cover of "Scarborough Fair", a creative and interesting take on a classic. "10 Years on the Inside" features some great guitar work and nice harmony in the vocals. "No Prayer" is a nice little jazzy/bluesy number with strong vocals and lyrics. If you like Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, you will like this one.

William and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team

Powerplay Magazine

A Canadian indie gem


Music review

By Alexandra Pope


They say you can’t judge an album by its cover, but one look at the liner of veteran composer Dwayne Ford’s latest offering, ‘On the Other Side’, gives the listener a pretty good idea of what they’re in for. A line of soldiers is seen posed in silhouette, guns at the ready, behind a tiled glass window. It’s one of a series of mixed-media artworks by U.K. artist David Lewis-Baker created as a personal response to the Iraq War. Ford too has done his fair share of thinking about war and violence since his last album, 2007’s Some Day, and the results are thought-provoking and occasionally unsettling. This is music with a social conscience, ironically billed as “easy listening” when in fact the subject matter of many of the songs is not easy at all.

The first single, ‘Any Fool With A Gun’ is a brooding synth-driven reflection on the gang violence that plagues city streets, occasionally catching innocent victims in the crossfire. Likewise, the title track, ‘On the Other Side’ paints a desolate picture of war. Backing vocalists Shelly Jones and Rhonda Withnell murmur the chorus, a chant-like poem that could be anyone’s inner monologue, soldier or civilian: “Time is the fire in the desert where the men go/to kill or to be killed, dying on the sands.” The next song, ‘Somebody Ought To’ is logically placed to be a followup to ‘On the Other Side’ exploring the hidden wounds war inflicts on its participants long after they return home. Ford, with his warm, slightly gruff voice, is perfectly believable as a soldier who is haunted by memories of the things he’s seen and done in combat. Intense and powerful, Ford’s musical explorations of violence are set-pieces, which makes ‘On the Other Side’ better enjoyed alone on a quiet night than as the soundtrack to your next backyard barbecue.

Refreshingly, the album is bracketed by two standout tracks that showcase Ford’s ability to turn out a great hook. ‘Please Don’t Say You Care’ is a laid-back, radio-friendly tune that will feel familiar to fans of the Rankins with its rollicking piano riffs and stirring background harmonies. ‘Who Did You Do To Us’ is pure, formulaic country, right down to its subject matter — the aftermath of an affair — but it’s an absolute pleasure for the ears. What ultimately makes ‘On the Other Side’ an unusual gem worth exploring is the fact that Ford doesn’t have to make solo albums. Since the 1970s the Edmonton native has carved out a niche for himself as a successful composer of scores for film and television both in Canada and the United States. He has worked as a songwriter and collaborator with some of the biggest names in music, including Toto, Donovan, Cory Hart, David Foster and Patsy Gallant.

‘On the Other Side’ is a labour of love, a deeply personal glimpse at the inner life of a man who has made his living bringing other projects to life through music. For music explorers seeking something special from the Canadian indie scene, On the Other Side is a solid choice. For more information about Dwayne Ford, visit  http://dwaynefordmusic..com

Monday, September 14, 2009

Review -- DWAYNE FORD -- On The Other Side


ON THE OTHER SIDE

Dwayne Ford

Independent


Hmmm! Can you have country/jazz? OK I suppose not. Yet after listening to the first two songs on Dwayne Ford's recent CD release, I am not sure he isn't flirting with it. Lyrically at least, both ‘Please Don't Say You Care’ and ‘Any Fool With A Gun’ could be construed as country songs, as could ‘Who Did You Do To Us’. Musically though, the instrumentation is more jazz/pop.


As the CD progresses we find that the jazz/pop world is where Ford, who hails from Edmonton, is at home. ‘East Side Girls’ has a sort of R&B feel, and the instrumental ‘Rio Stat’ is pretty much a straight jazz effort, with just a hit of pop at times.


If this sounds a bit mish-mashed, it surprisingly isn't. There are tangents and corners here, but somehow Ford keeps all the different influences in check enough to offer up a pretty cohesive CD. Interestingly, the more risks Ford takes, the bigger the leap if you wish, the better he gets. There is a sort of Middle Eastern intro to ‘On The Other Side’, and it takes Ford into a song where he lets go more vocally, and in so doing, he reaches higher with the song than all the others. ‘Somebody Ought To’ is also a great song, with the most powerful lyrics here. They have greater heart as they delve into the dark side of life.


This becomes an interesting disk for some of the risks Ford takes in his approach, even though he ends up with a CD which is kind of middle of the road poppish in the end. It's the subtle influences of jazz, country and R&B that you can hear here which is most interesting. Hopefully he will explore those influences more on subsequent CDs.


Check them out at  http://dwaynefordmusic.com


CALVIN DANIELS


Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Sept. 2, 2009 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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