Boston-based singer/songwriter Kristen Ford has a plan. After Saturday’s show celebrating the release of her new album, Dinosaur, she’s packing up a van and heading out onto the road for an extensive and open-ended U.S. tour. Currently she plays an impressive 100 shows every year. She funded Dinosaurthrough a grant she received from Club Passim and money she raised via Kickstarter.
Completed in four days in what Ford described as a cohesive manner—“all in one studio, same group of people play guitar and sing at some time and give it live feel and keep it from being overproduced. Digital music can be too perfect.” Propelled by energetic guitar arrangements the power-punk-pop songs blend many elements. Folk, jazz, blues. Quite bold. It’s an organic, magnificently emotional and insightful collection of songs.
“I feel strong about a lot of things politically and socially. There are so many things I want to say. I try to sneak it in here and there.”
While she’ll be touring solo (her girlfriend will be traveling with her), Ford said she’d try to put together bands to perform in the cities that she’s able. “My passion is definitely playing in an ensemble with a band,” Ford told me when we spoke recently sitting outside at the Starbucks in Watertown.
Last fall she decided to take this leap and started applying to music festivals. She applied to 350 festivals and will be playing six including the National Women’s Music Festival in Wisconsin in August. She’ll spend July in the Midwest. She’ll travel to a dude ranch in Wyoming where she wrote a lot of the songs on this album. She worked at the ranch, entertained guests and received room and board. She’ll then swing to Utah and the Grand Canyon and to Texas.
Nothing can replace the connections and following an artist develops through extensive touring. In this digital world, social media plays an essential role in marketing and building a fan place these days. Like many musicians Ford’s built a presence on Facebook, twitter and Soundcloud. “Soundcloud is great. People are listening from all over the world. There are 300 million people in America—not everybody has to like my music but if a few people like my music and then we can connect on the internet, that’s great.”
We discussed a few of the songs on Dinosaur
Ford: “It’s so distracting that bands are spending all their time promoting themselves.”
Ford: “It’s about a bad decision and the fallout from that in relationships when you allow yourself to get exposed and it’s shocking how hurt you can get.”
“Sky is Falling”
Ford: “About the feeling that everything is fucked and you can’t buy your way out or drink your way out. In showbiz you have a lot of acquaintances, there’s constant chatter and no one gives a shit and no one listens. It’s loosely based on Less Than Zero. On the line ‘disappear here.’ It’s easy to disappear in plain sight. Keep it together on the outside and fall apart on the inside.”
“Pretty Little Mind”
Ford: “Sonically people really like this song. It feels epic after this recording. It’s about dealing with flaws but not bringing down the people around you. It’s about a one-night-stand and a DUI and wanting to protect someone from you.”
Kristen Ford performs at Middle East Club Upstairs Saturday, May 24 at 7 pm.