Published Jul 19, 2010Frazey Ford's soulful voice has always been a highlight of the Be Good Tanyas. For her solo debut, she quiets the twang just enough to drench her vocal quaver in warm tones of soul, gospel and R&B. Twenty years in the making, Obadiah fulfils Ford's long-cherished vision of crafting songs that reflect her musical identity ― a style inspired more by Al Green and Otis Redding than Emmylou Harris. Long-time friend and fellow Be Good Tanyas member Trish Klein lends support to the record, as does her mother, who sings harmonies on "Lost Together"; Ford even added a sound-clip of her grandmother to her cover of Dylan's "One More Cup Of Coffee." Closing track "Mimi Song" is an ode to her late Texan grandmother and how she wanted to be remembered after she died. Sobering yet uplifting, her lyrics have spiritual depth without being overly heady. Layers of comfort are woven into the folksy groove of Obadiah. It's a multi-generational sonic quilt you just can't wait to sink into, and her voice is one you hope will linger in your mind for a long time.
You said that this was the record you were always meant to make. Why now?
After I stopped touring with the Be Good Tanyas and took a break to raise my son, I hit a point where I wasn't sure music was what I wanted to do anymore. I got frustrated and disillusioned; I had to let go of who I thought I was as an entertainer. I came to the point where I realized I was good enough just as me, which I had never felt in my life. Only after I shed all the pressure that comes along with getting attention or feeling like you have to be somebody did the songs for this album start coming out.
You've gone solo, but many Be Good Tanyas members are involved in this record.
I thought maybe I'd move onto different musicians and get a fresh start, but the reality is that Trish is my favourite guitar player. We have a good sound together and her boyfriend, John Raham, who was the previous Be Good Tanyas drummer, is my co-producer. We were locked into the Be Good Tanyas for eight years. Now, we have the freedom to not have to make every business decision together. It was worked out that she has the freedom to come and go, to do what she wants. And yet she can fly in and be a rock star when she feels like it! (Nettwerk)