Colt Ford gets labeled country rap, and there’s an undeniable logic to that, but he’s really closer in tone, spirit, and approach to rhythmic spoken word country records like Hank Williams' Luke the Drifter series, dramatically narrated trucker narratives like “Convoy,” or Charlie Daniels' mock-epic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” than he is to rap.
That country narrative style is really Ford's tradition, and those are the kinds of songs he writes, but he started out as a drummer and he’s fully aware of how to use urban beats and rhythms in that tradition, and as a stylistic approach, he shares rap’s aims to declare character, set up the landscape, and then tell the story -- and Ford is getting better at it as he goes.
On Every Chance I Get, his third studio album, he gets everything balanced just right, and just like most contemporary rap albums, it features a whole host of guests, this time around including Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Nappy Roots, Rehab's Danny Boone, Craig Morgan, Frankie Ballard, Tim McGraw, and Charlie Daniels, among others, but make no mistake, this is Ford's album.
He may have a larger than life hillbilly gangsta public image but he’s actually a sly, passionate, and multi-layered writer and he knows what to do in a recording studio.
There are some powerful cuts here, beginning with the thundering swamp rock opener, “Country Thang,” and closing with “Twisted,” an amazingly wise, harrowing, and completely brilliant 21st century pop song.
“She Wants to Ride in Trucks” is another gem, a sweet but sturdy song about a father watching his daughter make the transition from riding in trucks with dad as a little girl to riding in trucks with boys as a teenager.
This is a solid album that knows its audience, is wonderfully recorded and played, embraces a fusion of styles from country to rock to rap, tells compelling stories, and does all of this without coming off like a novelty record.
That's getting it right.