T-Model Ford and Gravel Road: Hard Liquor and Hard Time at Radio Radio

To play the blues, you have to live the blues. Authenticity doesn’t come easy, especially in a genre where hard women, hard liquor, and hard time are badges of honor. Nobody in modern blues knows this better than T-Model Ford, a legendary blues ambassador who’s seen so much trouble he can’t remember his own age. “I done been through a heap of knock-out, leg-broke, jaw-broke, fell-down troubles, an’ I’m still here,” he said in an interview on, “I think I’ll make it to 110.” Despite a pacemaker, a stroke, and more stints in jail than he can count, T-Model Ford continues to pound out authentic Delta blues on stages across the United States and the world. And on Thursday, June 2, 2011 you can catch the Taildragger at Radio Radio in Indianapolis, where he’s sure to show Indianapolis music fans what it really means to play the blues.

Video of T-Model Ford performing “Chickenhead Man” live; T-Model Ford will be performing in Indianapolis on June 2, 2011

Born James Lewis Carter Ford in Scott County, Mississippi sometime in the early 1920’s, T-Model Ford is more than qualified to play the blues. The early parts of his life were spent working a variety of blue collar, manual labor jobs, including plowing fields, working in a sawmill, and driving a truck. It was around this time that things got rough for the Taildragger (so called because of his late entry into recording music); he was sentenced to ten years on a chain gang for murder, but was released after doing two.

Video of an interview with T-Model Ford, taken from the documentary You Can See Me Laughing; T-Model Ford will be play8ing in Indianapolis on June 2, 2011

He’s been playing his variety of Delta blues since his early years, but he only began recording professionally in the past two decades. His first album for Fat Possum Records, Pee-Wee Get My Gun, was released in 1997, and since then he’s recorded seven other releases, including 2002’s Bad Man, 2008’s Jack Daniel Time, and 2011’s Taledragger. Most of these albums were recorded with his longtime friend and drummer, Spam.

Video of T-Model Ford performing “Sallie Mae” on KEXP 90.3 FM in Seattle; T-Model Ford will be playing in Indianapolis on June 2, 2011

At his concert in Fountain Square on June 2, 2011, T-Model Ford will be playing with his touring band, Gravel Road. The musicians’ relationship started off as a one-off performance at the 2008 Deep Blues Festival in Minnesota, and event that quickly evolved into a ten city United States tour. Despite having a pacemaker inserted after the end of that tour, T-Model Ford and Gravel Road continued to tour together through 2011, even recording Taledragger together in Los Angeles.

Video of T-Model Ford performing live with his touring band, Gravel Road; T-Model Ford and Gravel Road will be playing in Indianapolis on June 2, 2011

If you come to Radio Radio this Thursday, expect to see a living reminder of what the blues really are. His Fat Possum bio puts it well: “Three quarters of a century old, and with a dislocated hip, T-Model Ford is the only musician making his debut who could just as easily be starring in the most competitive branch of the National Wrestling Federation: The Cage Match.” And it’s true. Don’t expect T-Model Ford to take any guff at this Indianapolis event. He was a “sure enough dangerous man” in his early days; he hasn’t lost any vitality since, and, in his own words, he’s still able to “remember you sorry f***ers how it’s done.” T-Model Ford and Gravel Road will be performing at Radio Radio on Thursday, June 2, 2011 in a unique performance that you won’t find at any other Indianapolis cultural district. Tickets range from $10 to $12, and the show begins at 8:00 p.m. Don’t miss this chance to see the Taildragger in all his stripped down, elemental blues glory.

T-Model Ford and Gravel Road at Radio Radio
Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $10 to $12

Radio Radio

1119 E Prospect St
Indianapolis, IN 46203


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