After a decade as The Black Crowes’ lead guitarist, Marc Ford, is happy to be on his own.
He’s teamed with Eric Lindell for West Coast Reunion, a new project that blends California country, blues and soul. He has a new publishing deal and he’s producing Red Shahan’s record “Fuzz Machine.”
On Friday, March 27, he’ll bring his band to Roosters in Mesa.
“This is very exciting,” Ford says. “It’s wide open. There’s a lot of possibilities. It feels good after putting so much effort into one area. It’s nice to have these other venues—producing, gigging and writing. It keeps things interesting.”
Ford became interested in guitars in elementary school in Cerritos, California, when he saw his teacher playing during recess.
“I hung around, watching him, and I kind of dug it,” Ford says. “My grandmother then got me a guitar at a swap meet. From then on, I loved it. This is all I wanted to do.”
Ford began his career in Los Angeles in the 1980s with his group Burning Tree, which showed off his guitar virtuosity and songwriting. In 1991, he joined The Black Crowes, for whom he recorded and toured on “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion,” “Amorica” and “Three Snakes and One Charm.” He rejoined The Black Crowes in 2005 for two-album set “The Lost Crowes.”
His solo career has been just as fruitful. Ford has a handful of albums under his belt as well as an NAACP award for his work on the Ben Harper and Blind Boys of Alabama album “There Will Be a Light.”
A prolific producer, Ford has also performed and recorded with Izzy Stradlin, Gov’t Mule, The Jayhawks, The Original Harmony Ridge Creekdippers, Federale, Widespread Panic, Blue Floyd, Booker T. Jones, Ivan Neville and Heartbreaker Mike Campbell.
Ford says he never goes out looking for bands to play with or to produce. They find him.
“I tend to just come across them through mutual contacts, or I happen to hear or see somebody,” he says. “I have to understand what the artist is trying to do. If I get a sense of what they want and the feel of the thing and I feel I can add something, I get involved.”
Ford is excited about his project with Americana singer-songwriter Lindell.
“I thought we’d give it a try and do some shows together, and that’s looking promising,” he says. “We hadn’t seen each other in quite a few years. We started moving forward, without any plans or any knowledge of what it’s going to sound like. We spent the last weekend together and everything went really well.
“We did one song Saturday morning, just to see what would happen. It’s a cool, mellower vibe that we came up with.”
Ford doesn’t find it easy to write, especially on the road. So he needs sessions like these.
“I find that most of my real writing—because it’s a chore for me to concentrate on something and settle down—has to be a crisis situation,” he says.
“Sometimes it has to bubble up so much that I need to sort it out or get it out. I have to be pressured to concentrate, I guess.”
Although he’s doing the solo thing right now, Ford admits being a sideman isn’t all that bad.
“I dig being a sideman, too,” he says. “I get to where I need to do the other thing to keep things fresh. It becomes too rote. Then I don’t do anybody any service, just standing there playing, and I don’t want to be there.
“I’m excited to play behind other folks. I like to play with anybody I can learn from, really. That’s the whole thing about being a musician. It’s never ending. I love finding new people who have something fresh to share. Those things move me.”
Marc Ford Band w/Jim Bachmann and the Day Drinkers
Roosters Country, 3731 E. Main Street, Mesa, 480.985.4088, 7 p.m., $15.