Ford Chastain
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Ford Chastain

Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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"Really Good. The four dedicated members perform original songs written by their vocalist/guitarist, Ford Chastain. You’re going to want to be able to say that you witnessed this precocious young band mature from talented teenagers to international rockstars...."
- Oklahoma Film and Music Office


"Inspired by the Beatles, the Ramones and even Oklahoma City's Flaming Lips, the cast of Refuje may seem young. But they play like men." - The Norman Transcript


"Can kids just entering the daunting stage of puberty produce good tunes? Refuje clearly illustrates they can." - The Oklahoma Gazette


"I liked (these songs) a lot. They’re certainly polished and feel very kind of Gavin DeGraw-ish, in that vein of 20-something pop-rock." -- Preston Jones, pop music critic for DFW.com and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

- Fort Worth Star-Telegram


Ford Chastain is finding his voice and it's sounding pretty darn good.

While the great backup work by such indie notables as Allan Vest (Starlight Mints), Matt Duckworth (Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Neighborhood) and Dave Spindle (Rounders), does not hurt (nor does the skill of mixer Trent Bell), this mini-masterpiece's warm heart is a thing written and given its lifeblood by local young singer/guitarist Chastain, known by many as the frontman of Refuje.

The opening title track opens with a wistful feel reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here," then sprints around a brighter corner nicely just after the minute-and-a-half mark with a buoyant synth-and-guitar swell and the most optimistic-sounding delivery of the line "Nothing's been going my way today" this reviewer's heard yet. It makes for a radio-worthy whole, as do the other five tracks on this EP.

Up next is "In Such Things," a secular-yet-seeking pondering on the nature of mortality and faith that may have added appeal to Christian music fans or anyone dealing with loss.

Despite the fuzzed-out vocals (normally a peeve of mine) during the opening of "Everybody's Here," I stuck with it and was rewarded with a sunny soarer that sounds like the most Beatles-leaning track on the release. As far as subject matter, it flows naturally from the track before; they're best listened to one after the other.

"70 is Loneliness" holds up as a stunner listen after listen, from its opening drumline to the fading of strings, like a sandwich with a sweet filling mainly of Chastain's voice and guitar with zesty flavorings on horns and bell in between. It's the one of the bunch I still can't make myself fast-forward through a second of after thirty-odd spins.

If that's my favorite, "Differences" is a close second. With a tight composition and lyrics like "Take my kisses off your mind/You never know what you can find/From them," it walks the tightrope between clever and overly precious with the precision of a blindfolded acrobat. This one and "70 is Loneliness" would be fine by themselves; the other four songs are evidence of how much stuff Chastain has brewing in his noggin waiting to jump from hand to pen to paper to the stage and beyond.

"So What" is a powerful, drumbeat-heavy track that takes the yeah-well-I'm-ready-to-move-on attitude of its predecessor and affixes a shadowy question mark of sorts.

-- Adam Scott - Pop


At this point in his life, Ford Chastain has earned acclaim as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and composer; appeared at a number of venues and festivals and events in Oklahoma City and Norman; and issued a CD of songs he wrote and performed with a few of the area’s top musicians.

And he started high school.

The 14-year-old Norman North High School freshman is a medley of wisdom formed from personal bad news and the creativity that accompanies childhood.

Jim and LeAnn Chastain are Ford’s parents. Jim is a noted writer and poet in Oklahoma, and lately has written about the cancer that grows in his body these days.

His family deals with it.

Ford feels its threat in his own life, and he has music with which to express it.

At age 8, his father said, Ford put down sports pursuits and picked up a guitar; there was no way to dissuade him, but no one tried.

Ford insists he knew even before he got a guitar that he was going to make music.

"I got some of my writing ability from my dad,” he said.

The two have made appearances together, one signing books and the other singing songs.

His productive routine is carried out daily.

"I sit down with my guitar and play around. If it’s cool, I write words.”

He adds the words to a journal, where he might retrieve them for later polishing, and saves it on a small tape recorder.

He describes his music as "indie rock” and likes the independent aspect of it.

Lately, his Web page explains, he’s influenced by the Strokes, the Beatles, the Kinks and David Bowie.

The CD, titled "If I Leave,” includes musical notes about things that occupy a 14-year-old.

"A lot about girls,” he admits.

And some about his father.

Ford played for a while with a band called Refuje, young men with a musical passion that may have grown too hot to survive.

As a band member or soloist, he appeared at the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts and Opening Night, at the Norman Music Festival and a list of other dates.

He has a Web site: www.fordchastain.com.

He has a goal ... sort of, he says.

"I want to get well known, but I don’t want to get extremely huge.”

At least until he’s 15.

-- Ann DeFrange

- The Oklahoman


Discography

Ford Chastain - If I Leave EP (6 original songs)
Refuje - Too Many Questions LP (10 original songs)
Refuje - Sightless LP (8 original songs)

Several songs from Too Many Questions received radio play and were streamed. New songs are streaming at my website, ford chastain.com and myspace site, under ford chastain.

Photos

Bio

I founded the popular rock band Refuje, which played some great gigs and venues in Oklahoma, like D-fest, the Opolis, the Norman Music Festival, and Opening Night. Refuje was featured many times on radio and TV and were flown out to L.A. last year to audition for the show, the next Great American Band. Only 40 bands from across the country were selected.

My first solo EP, If I Leave, is a collection of indie rock songs. Four of Oklahoma's best musicians joined me on the EP, including Trent Bell of the Chainsaw Kittens (he also produced the CD), Allan Vest of the Starlight Mints, Matt Duckworth of Stardeath and White Dwarfs, and Dave Spindle of the Rounders.

What sets me apart? My songwriting. I'm a prolific songwriter, penning about 50 to 100 songs a year. My songs are catchy and unique, as I'm a big fan of music and have been exposed to a wide range of great artists. My influences include the Beatles (of course), the Kinks, David Bowie, Weezer, Tom Waits, the Strokes, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Granddaddy, ELO, the Flaming Lips, Belle and Sebastian, Elton John, Iron & Wine, Simon and Garfunkel, etc.