“Grey Sky Blue” is the new single from genre-defying artist/songwriter Kristen Ford. This guitar-driven track strikes a few different chords, and launches the listener into a tune about what I can only surmise is about social anxieties and trying to fit in. Or maybe it’s about getting swept away by music, and it is making the black and white film that is your life, being colored with positivity and clarity. Ford’s cohesive, scratchy/chaotic guitar work is a welcomed hum to the backing music. It’s a chatter that seems to fit nicely with the warmer vocal tones. The juxtaposition is clear — the shredding guitar and the murmuring shadows collide. “Grey Sky Blue” triggers something beyond the norm.
Fish out of water, gasping for breath, Ford sings. She sounds off in the distance, as if she were an outsider. I like to imagine this song as being an anthem for the moment your eyes meet another’s eyes in a crowded party or scene. At that instant, that spark, it ignites this idea that whatever is going all around you ceases to exist. It’s in that ecosystem, that world, that “Grey Sky Blue” plays out. Ford’s imagery she creates with the distorted and grungy guitars is completely unexpected. If it’s just noise to you, then you’re not interpreting it the same way I am. To me, that click of the guitar, the sound where you can almost reach out and touch the guitar pic hitting the electric string, is like time standing still. It conveys a rawness, a freedom in releasing emotional twirls and toils.
I think the person that Ford is singing about is the sun to her moon. The color to her brush. She’s not cutesy or childish about it. She plays it cool and builds the song’s soundscape with a wide swath of percussion, gentle throbbing bass lines and blizzard of riffs. What makes the sound so great is that it’s like putting a tight garage band into the studio. You can’t fabricate the smoldering guitar work in this song via computer. She has great instincts in the crafting of this song and the way that it communicates to the listener a story, a journey. There is depth to it, and it’s not just a numbing rhythm guitar scratching against a kick drum. The flow of the song feels magical — like being beneath the aurora borealis night sky. Those Northern Lights, a light show like no other, might just be sneaking in the sound you hear from Ford’s guitar and under-appreciated vocals.
After years of a nomadic home life, Ford now calls Nashville home. Music City has certainly proven a rewarding experience — her new album, War in the Living Room is a follow-up to the 2020 EP, No Plans. She worked with producer Rachael Moore, who is known for working with Robert Plant, Allison Krause and Martina McBride). “Grey Sky Blue” is more rock than Americana / roots, with a whole lotta elbow grease. War in the Living Room is produced by June Millington and Brett Bullion (Now, Now, Lizzo).