Robben Ford has peace on his mind — and bad women, the kind who burn bright but wear out their welcomes. On the bluesy Truth, he tries to tell them goodbye or at least convince them to change their ways.
Over the years, Ford has toured and recorded with Miles Davis, George Harrison, Joni Mitchell, Charlie Musselwhite, and Jimmy Witherspoon, and was named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century” by Musician magazine. Several tribute bands emulate his sound, although he says playing guitar is always about the song, not the hot licks. The best tracks here include “Peace On My Mind” — a cool, jazzy tune inspired by Willie Dixon’s “It Don’t Make Sense, You Can’t Make Peace” — and “Lateral Climb,” a workingman’s song about trying to make it in a world filled with war, lies, and white-collar crime.
In “How Deep in the Blues (Do You Want to Go?),” he urges a woman in “a houseful of empty” to get on with life. In the organ-laced “You’re Gonna Need a Friend,” co-written with his wife, singer Anne Kerry Ford, he chastises a woman who’s burned too many bridges. In “There’ll Never be Another You,” the woman knows how to hurt and how to please him. His fine version of Paul Simon’s “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor” features a duet with Susan Tedeschi. Ford doesn’t treat the blues as a relic but as a “living,” a constantly changing piece of the present. Still, as good as most of the songs here are, there’s nothing particularly new about the performances. Many people do electric blues well, and so does Ford. On Truth, he’s smooth and truly tasteful without really being innovative.