The Kristen Ford Band's The Grindstone, is an ambitious, complex, and incredibly musically diverse record. Kristen Ford has only lived in Chicago and Boston, but she appears as a world traveler on The Grindstone. Every song on the album has a distinct flair, and pizzazz. Like an old muse, Ford uses, combines, and bends genres to her will. At times she appears bluesy, and soulful, belting out her lyrics carefully with every verse. Other times, she is pure rock and roll screaming with childish joy. There is a refreshing lightness. The reggae opener “Loved You Madly” and the Hawaiian country ensemble “Bag of Bones” are testament to the special flavor of Ford’s.
It is virtually impossible to pin Ford down to one genre as she has obtained the ability to match her playing style and vocals to whatever genre she pleases. “Shadow” has Ford putting the brakes on the rock momentum. Everything slows down and her beautiful voice creeps in. The very next song on the album, the hard rocking “Machine Bird,” switches the momentum again. “Machine Bird” begins with the slow drawl of “Shadow,” but it erupts. The song is fun, fast, loud, and right in your face. This ability to change so utterly is the cornerstone of the album. Ford brings a welcome sincerity to the Indie scene with The Grindstone, an album clearly worth smiling over.--Casey Lowrey