When you look at the world, what is it that you see and hear? How do you see yourself? How does the guitar weave its way around the emotional tether strung between you and your partner? In her new song, “Grey Sky Blue”, Nashville’s Kristen Ford binds together the sound that meets at the crossroads of punk, rock, pop and electronica. Spellbinding in terms of a retro sheen with a modern finish, this song could easily find its way into the collections of David Bowie Ziggy Stardust-era fans, R.E.M. or even Cage The Elephant.
“Grey Sky Blue” is from the forthcoming album War in the Living Room (produced by June Millington and Brett Bullion). From its early moments, “Grey Sky Blue” clearly shows that it’s that Ford is carving out a bold lane for the rhythm guitar. Cinematic, industrial boom pop – call it what you want, but the guitar reverb drapes a star-speckled blanket over the sonic music bed. As a listener, I closed my eyes and paid little attention to the annunciation of the words and lost myself in the modest voice I found incredibly easy to hum along to. It’s a nice groove, with a vibe that is heated by a furnace comprised of electric guitar wavelengths that chuck away at a pesky percussion. The sound is odd, weird and awesome all the same. The tempo is fun and I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an EDM mix not-so-in-the-distant future.
I think this track is about observing a couple – being an outsider. It could be about looking at other people and wondering what they have that you don’t. Ford is at her best when she’s writing songs that sound like open diary entries, and this is no exception. “Grey Sky Blue” left me both wandering around its moving fixtures and textures, as well as wondering where it took place. I liked the intrigue, the fascinating unknowns she contrives. The sticky bass, keeping a faster tempo with the tight drum kit, is like the heart racing. Ford takes your hand and goes with it, down a rabbit hole of progressive guitar movements and purplish-blue melodies. A plume of smokey, pinkish clouds erupts, just as Ford’s vocals rise to the occasion. It’s an elevated bubble that rises to the surface, moving and evolving. This is how music should be – an experience that doesn’t have rules and doesn’t dictate how you should feel listening. “Grey Sky Blue” is a listening experience like no other that I’ve heard in indie releases this year. Or any year really.
I’m determined to call “Grey Sky Blue” one of 2021’s best. I know we still have a few weeks to crank out before the year’s end, but Ford’s gem is a definite contender. Regardless, this guitar-slaying troubadour is on my radar. Pay close attention to Ford and be on the lookout for her new album, and when you have time, go check out her 2020 release (No Plans). I’m telling you, make plans for Ford to be included in your playlists.