Jack Fords
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Jack Fords

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Americana


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""The Way Things Should Be" Review"

With the release of "The Way Things Should Be" some help of a slew of incredibly gifted musicians, Bobby Latina and Eric "Mother Fucking Roscoe" Ambel (ok so embellished his nickname a bit but come on the guy is a legend) it is no holds barred Cleveland rock and roll. If Wilco, The Stones, ZZ Top and The Who fucked this record could have been the outcome. It is a lot of rock and roll mixed with a southern twang roots Americana thing. The cd starts with the track "Cutting Blow" which is just this epic balls out rock song with serious props being paid to southern rockers like ZZ Top. It is bluesy without being too over the top like a bad George Thorogood song. You could put this one on repeat and crank it a few times before heading on to the next track but when you do get there it's a Matthew Sweet infused pop tune called "Old Habits Die Hard". Just enough rock to keep it flowing until the third track "Cover's Blown" that really accents Kirby's vocal chops.

The next cut "Who Do You Trust" takes me into the Stones reference. Subdued in the back is Chris Hanna with some honky tonk key work. It's reminds me of a slowed down Mooney Suzuki cut. There is this polished garage sound to it to make it poppy enough to be radio friendly but dirty enough to keep the White Stripes crowd in check. Next up is the album title track "The Way Things Should Be" which follows in the same vein as the last cut only a little more polish to it. Next up is the balladesque "Brightest Star". Slowing it down a bit not a true "ballad" really but more of a Neil Young kind of slow down. "Bent Out of Shape" we kind of pick up the pace a bit and showcase the rock again only to set it up for the real stripped down "Together We Rise" which could have easily been on a Ryan Adams record. Saying well that's enough of the slow stuff we get back into full tilt boogie with "Done You Right" leading into Who-esque rock and roll guitar in "Smoke 'N' Spirits". It has this Cheap Trick meets The Who thing going on to it with guitar solos and everything. Just when you think it is over it almost is. They throw in a nice slow one called "All Over Now" and end it rocking out the way it started with "Last Call Whistle".

To say it is a great record is an understatement. You can tell just how much effort went into this thing. It's great to see someone like Roscoe producing the record too. They guy just knows exactly how to mix in the right elements to showcase all the talent that is contained in the disc. There are standout tracks, yet there are no throw away cuts or easily skipped tracks. It all flows together into an incredible body of work. It amazes me this is self published. You have incredible talent in Kirby, Latina and the backing band, an amazing producer yet no label backing. Sure it is not easy to get a record deal these days, but fucking-a man it is a excellent record! All I have to say has been said before on the Jack Fords if you have yet to see them stop waiting get out there and check them out. As far as just straight forward rock and roll goes between them and like the Whiskey Daredevils and Hot Rails Cleveland actually does have more than a handful of rock and roll saviors and they are one of the best ones around. - 52 Weeks of Cleveland Blog- May 2010

"Pick of the Day. "Way Things Should Be" Review"

Music Pick Of The Day: The Jack Fords - The Way Things Should Be
Brent Kirby kicks into rock mode with his band The Jack Fords as they release their new album The Way Things Should Be. It should be noted this is only their second release and first studio album.

Making the bold move to record a live album to serve as their debut in 2006 it's down right exciting to hear what they sound like in a studio setting. Granted, their live shows have been the buzz of Cleveland since they formed in 2005.

I'm happy to report that they've captured the energy of those live performances in the studio as well. The album is a stellar achievement ranking with the best rock releases of any band this year. I'm not confining that to local music either. The Jack Fords deserve to be a national act.

In the meantime, we Clevelanders are lucky to have chances to catch them live. The CD release party is this Saturday night at The Happy Dog. Get there early as this promises to be a rollicking night and hopefully the kick off to a run at some well deserved national attention.
- Hannibal Radio Blog

""Bent Into Shape" - "Way Things Should Be" Review"

Bent Into Shape
After four years, the Jack Fords return with their second album
by Jeff Niesel

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Jack Fords, Chris Allen, Tom Prebish
9 p.m. Saturday, May 8 Happy Dog 5801 Detroit Ave. 216-651-9474 Tickets: $5 happydogcleveland.com "I don't think I've ever been here during the daytime," says Jack Fords singer Brent Kirby as he walks into Smedley's with bandmate Bobby Latina for an early-evening cocktail. The group regularly plays the club, and while it might seem odd that an Americana act inspired by alt-country pioneers like Gram Parsons and the Band would play the roughneck Kamm's Corners biker bar known for hosting Lynyrd Skynyrd cover bands, the Fords' music has a mean streak that appeals to both hipsters and bikers.

The Jack Fords came together five years ago when Kirby and guitarist Bobby Latina met at a Sunday-night jam session at the defunct Town Fryer restaurant. Hayshaker Jones' Clint Holley hosted the events that brought together local roots-rock musicians.

"I went up there and played 'Grievous Angel' by Gram Parsons," recalls Kirby. "There was applause afterward, and I was shocked that the people there knew who Gram Parsons was. Bobby and I started talking and became friends."

At that point, Latina, the guitarist with local cowpunk stalwarts the Cowslingers, had started a new band following the 'slingers' breakup. He was looking for a singer.

"I heard him sing and thought he would fit in with what I was trying to do," says Latina. "We connected the dots of our influences and realized we had a lot in common."

They started writing songs immediately, and within months released their 2006 debut, Bent Outta Shape, which they recorded live at the Town Fryer.

"Our idea was to get something out as quick as possible," says Kirby. "We wanted to capture that momentum and figured that was the best way to do it."

"Economically, it made sense too," adds Latina.

The band, which also includes bassist Ed Sotelo and drummer Jim Wall, went through numerous lineup changes that delayed the release of its sophomore album.

"It's like a relationship," says Kirby. "You try to work things out, and maybe it works and maybe it doesn't. Bands are relationships, really. It's like having four or five girlfriends. They all have moods. You want to have it so that there's no maintenance. That's what's nice about this lineup."

Once the group solidified, they recruited producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Del Lords, Steve Earle, Ryan Adams). Latina knew Ambel from his Cowslingers days, so he sent him a 14-song demo he thought Roscoe might like.

"I figured our music, which is roots rock, is very much in the vein of his," says Latina. "Roscoe said he could do something with it, but he wanted to hear all the songs on acoustic guitar. So Brent had to re-record all the songs."

Ambel drove in from New York one weekend, and they cut the new album, The Way Things Should Be, in three days at Painesville's Suma studios. It's a terrific mix of barroom rock that kicks off hard and heavy with the ZZ Top-like "Cutting Blow" and settles into a groove for "Old Habits Die Hard" and "Together We Rise," ballads that recall the poppier side of the Old 97's.

"He really kicked our ass on a lot of stuff," says Kirby. "I think he was once referred to as rock 'n' roll's greatest traffic cop. He keeps you completely focused, and there's no dicking around. It was a great experience."

You can distinctly hear Kirby and Latina's different influences. In "Done You Right" and "Smoke 'n' Spirits," Kirby has to really stretch his vocals to be heard above the din.

"When I write for the Fords, I write in a different vein [from his solo work]," says Kirby. "I try to write songs with great guitar-solo progressions. Bobby will come up with a kick-ass riff, and I'll have my lyrics, and then he'll add a kick-ass guitar solo."

While the band is a terrific live act, embarking on a lengthy tour to support the album isn't in the cards.

"The truth is that we have kids and full-time jobs," says Kirby. "It's too hard to get out for extended periods of time, so our mantra is to work smarter and do some regional touring a couple of weekends a month."

Not that the inability to tour behind the record diminishes it in any way.

"We just wanted to make a great record with a great producer," says Latina. "So it was worth the wait."

Send feedback to jniesel@clevescene.com.

- Cleveland Scene Magazine- May 2010

"Erie Times Feature and EP Review"

Talk about sweet serendipity. The Jack Fords play Docksider on Friday, the same night classic Fords and other cars converge downtown for Buggin' State.

"For once, our name finally works in our favor!" exclaimed Brent Kirby, the band's dashing lead singer and songwriter.

Jack Fords don't play car songs, but they hum like a vintage 1972 model when bands like the Faces, Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, Humble Pie, the Band, and Led Zeppelin ruled rock. Their rootsy, genuine, guitar-fueled and occasionally epic rock and roll has a confident, bravura quality about it that rings as true as a day's work.

Bobby Latina's scorching guitar work leaps out; he burns rubber on guitar. But so does Kirby's narrative sense, inspired by stalwarts like Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, and Bruce Springsteen. He's also blessed with an expressive, versatile, built-for-rock voice that not only brings his own songs home but occasional covers of Dylan, Stones, Gram Parsons, and more.

Jack Fords used to string together covers and originals in one long, sweaty four-hour-plus set . They finally stopped that, but not because it wore them out.

"I loved it. I think every one of us loved it," Kirby said. "But friends would come to see us or our fans would come to see us play, and wait for a break. If you don't take one, then they're like, 'See you later,' and wave goodbye. You've got to be social, too.

"We realized that's a big part of the job -- talking to people and bringing out the personal aspect of it. We definitely appreciate everyone coming out to see us play. We owe them that conversation."

They have plenty to talk about. They've piled up awards from Cleveland's Free Times, including 2007's best rock band and 2006's best Americana band. Last year they were up for five awards, including best rock band, Latina as best guitarist, Kirby as best singer-songwriter, Chris Hanna for best keyboard player, and Paul Lewis for best bass.

Jack Fords also have a new, four-song EP, "Cutting Blow," a stopgap between 2006's live debut "Benta Outta Shape" and the studio CD they'll record this fall.

"We finally have come to a point where we found the musicians we want to play with and make the record we all dreamed of making," Kirby said. "So, in preparation for this record we'll be making in September, we went into the studio and did pre-production on tracks to hear them and kind of define them even more."

Jack Fords are in talks with Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, formerly of the Del-Lords and Steve Earle's band, to produce the fall CD. He's worked with dozens of roots artists, including the Bottle Rockets and Ryan Adams.

"That would be a great thing," Kirby said. "Bobby and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways; we've listened to a lot of the records he's done."

"I worked with him in the Cowslingers, too," added Latina. "So I learned a lot from the guy, and I liked the way he tracked everyone live. He goes for the best performance and capturing that magic and gets that out."

The four new songs sure have a touch of magic. Slow-building "All Over Now" features a Wilco-like vibe, while the straight-ahead, barn-burning "Last Call Whistle" is a raucous crowd-pleaser.

Latina takes a staggering solo in "Way It Goes," which is also drenched with Kirby's harmonica. The hard-charging title cut kicks into chunky, bluesy overdrive.

Jack Fords are so anxious for fans to hear how they sound now, they'll give away "Cutting Blow" at Friday's Docksider show.

"They aren't the most beautiful copies in the world," Latina said. "But when you put it in the CD player, you can't see it anyway. If you listen to it, you will enjoy it."

June 18, 2008 - Dave Richards at Erie Times

"Free Times Feature Article"

Making His Voice Heard : Singer Brent Kirby has brought pop sensibilities to the Jack Fords

THIRTEEEN YEARS IS A GOOD RUN FOR A BAND. When guitarist Bobby Latina decided to leave the Cowslingers in March of 2004, that was the catalyst for the Cleveland cowpunk band to ring down the curtain on its long, productive run. Singer Greg Miller, bassist Ken Miller and drummer Leo Walsh quickly regrouped as the Whiskey Daredevils, adding two new guitarists and continuing in a similar vein to the ’slingers’ crazed honky-tonk rock. Latina took a very different course with his slow-brewing new band, the Jack Fords.

“After 13 years, I was looking for a change in the style of music,” Latina says, as he and his bandmates, drummer Dave Malensec, bassist Patrick Christopher and singer-guitarist Brent Kirby munched peel-and-eat shrimp at the Town Fryer, a bar and restaurant that’s become an incubator for the area’s Americana scene. “They’re still great friends of mine, and it was a great experience. But I had reached the point where I was not challenged musically. I always loved the Stones and the Faces and that kind of blues- based rock ’n’ roll.”
He first hooked up with Malensec, a friend he’d known since nursery school and had hung out with when both were attending Kent State.

“I was like, ‘Why don’t we get together and start playing,’” says Latina. “I knew Pat from the Lonesome Bones. I sat in with the Bones for about two months once.”
The Jack Fords were initially rounded out by vocalist Joe Sumph, who left early this year after having a baby. Enter Kirby, a Cleveland transplant already making a name for himself around town with his own band, Brent Kirby and the Flashing 12s, which he formed shortly after moving to town three years ago. The Town Fryer was the matchmaker.
“The Fryer has been so amazing for all of us in the scene,” says Kirby. “You can walk in here and there’s a huge mutual respect that comes out of this place. That was a definitely a catalyst for a lot of things.”
“We started [roots music Sunday jam nights] at the Fryer around February of this year,” Latina says. “Clint Holley from Hayshaker Jones invited me up and I met a bunch of new guys to play with. About two or three weeks into it, Brent walked in. He started playing an acoustic song, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy can sing.’ And we just hit it off immediately on a personal level. We started talking about a lot of the same bands like the Bottle Rockets and Ryan Adams, all that kind of alternative country. For about three weeks, Brent and I got together. He showed me some of his songs; I showed him some of our songs. Then I brought him into a practice and the energy was just like mind-blowing.”
“We’re like, ‘Yeah, this is what it’s supposed to be about,’” says Christopher. “It was the spark we were looking for.”
He also brought a pop sensibility to a band that had previously had a bit more of a jam-band feel with some Black Crowes and Allmans influence.
“Brent’s songwriting is so strong; there’s more structure to it,” says Latina. “It just put us up to another level in our crazy minds.”
The band will showcase its tunes this Friday at the Grog Shop, and it’ll open for Philadelphia’s Marah at the Beachland October 26. By early next year, they hope to be in the studio recording their first release.
“I feel like we’ve got the material for a great CD but I’m still working on a bunch of new tunes,” Kirby says. “I used to challenge myself — it’d be a half hour before rehearsal and I’d be like, ‘Alright, I’m going to write a song before rehearsal.’ And I’d sit down and I’d just start writing. Probably three or four songs came like that. I’m like, ‘I need to impress these guys.’ If I still want to be in the band, I’d better come here with something.”

- The Free Times

"Score Music Magazine CD Review"

Live albums are a tricky beast. Why the simple fact that the words "live" and "album" still roll off the tongue much more naturally than, say, "live" and "CD" should give you the idea. In short, the concept is largely (and rightfully) perceived as an endangered product of the self-indulgent, major-label '70s, when acts such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Seger, and Aerosmith twisted them up and smoked through them as quickly and as often as their labels needed a neat, cheap collection of re-treads to spew at the masses between those rare lucid moments of new material half-sober band members.
As a rule, live albums were supposed to be bearable at best and absolutely horrid at worst - and they sure as hell didn't work as debut releases.

Welcome to the 21st Century kids, because the Cleveland-based Jack Fords have knocked one out of the park their first time up to bat - and they have done it in front of a crowd, to boot. From the opening strains of frontman Brent Kirby's kazoo, to his closing "thanks for coming" mumble, Bent Out Of Shape is both a stellar showcase of the band's material, and a palpably greasy night of pure, unadulterated rock 'n' roll.

Kirby's still highly-underrated lyrical acumen on songs such as the unassuming, stream-of-conscious "Don't Mean Nothing" ("When the streets feel as friendly as a bedroom all covered up and warm with sin") fit surprisingly well into the band's hyperbolic blues delivery. And with the rock-solid rhythm section of bassist Billy Crompton and drummer Dave Melensek keeping the proceedings in check, former Cowslingers guitar slinger Bobby Latina shows a refreshing amount of restraint throughout the hour-plus performance. In fact, Kirby and Latina are the perfect yin to the others yang on tunes like "Alice Brown" and "Such A Crime" - wherein Latinas over-the-top soloing is buoyed by Kirby's concise and cinematic lyrics - and conversely on numbers like "Cover's Blown" and "Last Song I'll Ever Sing" - where Latina's Telecaster momentarily rescinds the spotlight to allow Kirby to story-tell away.

There are some shortcomings, to be sure. While this CD may be the most authentically-captured showcase of Latina's instrumental prowess, there are still moments when the live-performance bite is somewhat neutered. And while Kirby is at times stunningly effective with his vocal delivery, he isn't exactly Wilson Pickett-powerful on the disc's more overtly bluesy material.

But with an excellent mix from producer John Guggenheim that perfectly captures both the on-stage action and an at times riotously energetic Town Fryer crowd, this is a near-perfect collection, no matter what decade you prefer your records from.
- Score Music

"Jack Fords hit the Docksider with hot, new CD"

Jack Fords hit the Docksider with hot, new CD
Preview by Dave Richards
Staff writer
When Jack Black taught at the School of Rock, Jack Fords were Grade A students, soaking up prime influences like the Rolling Stones, Faces, Humble Pie, Flying Burrito Brothers, T. Rex, Black Crowes, and Bob Dylan.

You can hear echoes of all the above on "The Way Things Should Be," their blazing new CD. This kind of chunky, piston- pumping rock is known as roots rock or Americana today.

But it's really born out of what Chuck Berry and Little Richard started, and a zillion others put their stamp on ever since in dive bars with bad lighting and sticky, beer-stained floors.

In Jack Fords' hands, it's still exciting stuff, whether they're playing live, like Friday at Docksider or recording with a legendary producer. They cut "The Way Things Should Be" with veteran roots-rocker Eric "Roscoe" Ambel, who played guitar in the Del Lords and later with Steve Earle's band.

"He seemed like the natural choice for us," said Jack Fords guitarist Bobby Latina, who worked with Ambel before, back when Latina was in the Cowslingers. "A lot of the bands he produced, like the Bottle Rockets and Backsliders and Go to Blazes, all these bands, I love all those records.

"He gets the sound that we have. He understands how to make a rock and roll record. So he was the natural choice for us."

Amble didn't just amble in and hit the "record" button. He insisted that principal songwriter and singer Brent Kirby record everything acoustically first.

"He just wanted to hear the songs," Latina said. "So Brent recorded them in his basement by himself on acoustic guitar. Then we scheduled the studio time."

They recorded at Suma in suburban Cleveland, a legendary spot where James Gang and Michael Stanley Band have worked.

"The room itself used to be a summer home for rich guys," Latina said. "It's got real aged wood and high ceilings; it's a great environment to record in. Roscoe walked in and knew immediately it was the right room for us. It was very cool."

Instead of tracking parts, they recorded together, as a band, to get that crackling-live feel.

"Everything was done 100 percent live," Latina said. "Then he mixed the record in New York and added a couple little guitar tracks here and there to fatten things up. But mostly, it was just us, doing everything live. There was very little overdubbing. We did 12 songs in three days."

That sounds fast, but truth is, this CD was like Dylan's slow train coming. They did everything piecemeal, due to budget constraints.

"We financed it all ourselves, so we had to raise the money," Latina said. "What we would do is have little checkpoints. We'd have enough money to record. Then we waited another six months to raise enough to get it mastered and mixed. We had all these steppingstones to get it finished. That's why it took so long.

"But it was worth it," he added. "We wanted to make sure we had the best-sounding record we could have."

They also wanted the best songs, so they rerecorded three gems from "Bent Outta Shape," the debut.

"With the first record being a live record, there was never a proper studio version of some of those songs," Latina said.

They reworked the rollicking, harmonica-driven title cut, the bluesy "Covers Blown," and "Who Do You Trust."

"When we originally recorded 'Who Do You Trust,' it was more revved-up. Roscoe suggested we put that T. Rex or Mott the Hoople vibe on it. He had a lot of suggestions like that; he was very involved," Latina said. "He's all about capturing the best performance of the band and making sure everyone's comfortable."

Latina said Jack Fords are most comfortable as a four-piece. They recorded the CD with keyboard player Chris Hanna, but after he left amicably, they opted not to replace him.

"I felt keyboards tamed us a little bit, sound-wise," Latina said. "With it being just a four-piece, it's very guitar-driven. There's not as many textures; it's more straight-ahead."

They kick into overdrive even harder than before, whether wailing on originals or songs by Dylan, Tom Petty, the Stones, Gram Parsons, and others that take them back to school.

Kirby, the band's dashing lead singer, also plays in a Gram Parsons' tribute band. But that's just an elective. Jack Fords is the main subject for Kirby and Latina. That's what put them on the honor roll, including the Scene's award for best rock band in 2009.

Just thank God they played hooky during disco week at School of Rock.
- Erie Daily Times- August 12, 2010

"Free Times CD Review"

The Free Times
The Jack Fords
Bent Out of Shape
The Jack Fords, another entry in Cleveland's strong roots-rock scene, make their recording debut with a live disc recorded in February at the Town Fryer, the scene's hub. It was a good choice, as the confident, well-honed chops of the seasoned quartet allow it to execute its strong tunes in a live setting with ease. Heavily influenced by bluesy rock groups such as the Stones, the Faces and the Yardbirds, the disc's a must-have for Black Crowes fans, since echoes of that band are all over the title track and the mid-tempo, Southern-rock influenced "New Orleans." "Who Do You Trust" is an irresistible roadhouse roof-raiser, while "Such a Crime" is a classic howl of a rock ballad, laced with twangy guitar. The sprawling "Hotel Suicide" is a showcase for Kirby's and Latina's slashing guitar work, while the epic "Covers Blown" showcases Kirby's rangy, momentous vocals. A cover of Gram Parsons' "Hot Burrito #2" closes out the disc nicely. — Anastasia Pantsios
The Jack Fords perform with Doug McKean and the Stuntmen at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $6.
- The Cleveland Free Times May 10, 2006

"Plain Dealer CD Review"

Local spotlight

The Jack Fords

"Bent Outta Shape"


Inherently, live albums are a risky move. If the intended magic-in-the-moment experience isn't captured, the result could be disastrous. For Cleveland-based The Jack Fords, a newcomer on the rock scene, the decision to skip the formalities of releasing a studio project in lieu of a rocking live album filled with original material proved to be genius. Its debut release "Bent Outta Shape" is a powder keg of blues-based tunes delivered with a roots-rock vibe. The eruption of the title track starts the album out on a high note. Other standouts include the Skynyrd-esque "Last Song I'll Ever Sing" and Black Crowes-inspired "New Orleans." It's the latter track where the true appeal of The Jack Fords is evident, with guitarist Bobby Latina's funky solo taking the listener to unbelievable heights. If you want to hear Cleveland rock again, "Bent Outta Shape" won't disappoint. Grade: A

- The Plain Dealer 5-26-06

"Mid Point Music Fest Review"

The Jack Fords - This band made the drive down I-71 from Cleveland, OH. They specialize in an Americana blues style. While the music has elements of classic rock, alt country, and rockabilly, singer Brent Kirby's phrasing was reminiscent of Jay Farrar. Their songs were memorable from the recordings I sampled in preparation for the festival, but their live performances were even better. The band was solid and energetic with two electric guitars, keyboards through a Leslie amp, and a tight rhythm section. Filling the 1:00 am set, Kirby declared that "it's hard to place last because we've been drinking and smoking pot all night. It's either gonna be hit or miss." They were definitely a hit.
- Internet Forum

"Erie Times Preview"

``One of my favorite Cleveland bands -- the Jack Fords -- return to Beer Mug on Friday with their rootsy, blazing songs. If you like Black Crowes or early Faces, you'd love these guys. Smokin' guitarist Bobby Latina, formerly of the Cowslingers, said the Jack Fords recently added Paul Lewis on bass.

"He really adds to our overall sound. He was our missing link," Latina said. "We have been through many lineup changes over the last few years, but each change has been in the right direction. Brent [Kirby] and I feel we have the cream of the crop, and our band is complete. Now we can record our follow-up to 'Benta Outta Shape.'"

Jack Fords will play a few new originals on Friday, and some new covers too, including songs by Traffic and Derek and the Dominos. Jake Johns will open.

-Dave Richards
Jan 10, 2008
- Erie Daily Times Showcase

"Jack Fords: "The Way Things Should Be""

Jack Fords, "The Way Things Should Be" ***

"Girl snuck up behind me; she said, 'you're a rock n roll star.' Looked just like Jayne Mansfield," sings Brent Kirby on "Who Do You Trust," one of a dozen cuts on the Jack Fords' first album in four years.

"Jayne who?" says anyone under 40. But if you get the reference, you'll get Jack Fords, if not fall in love with them. They harness the sweaty, blues-infused, bar-band, blazing-guitar sound that defined rock for so long. Today, that style is affectionately called roots rock, which is fine, though it doesn't totally do Jack Fords justice.

They meld definite Bob Dylan/Jack Kerouac, stream-of-conscious songwriting influences with greasy, hard-pumping rock, plus a heartfelt, light-the-Bic ballad or two to break things up. If Black Crowes and Old 97s joined forces, they might sound like Jack Fords, though you'll also hear echoes of vintage Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Stones, and Faces. The Hammond B-3 also adds a slight retro feel.

The Doc likes their motoring stuff: barrelhouse, hard boogie-rock opener "Cutting Blow," which kills, and the studio version of harmonica-fueled "Benta Outta Shape," which was the title track of their live, debut CD. Midtempo rocker "Old Habits Die Hard" rides an infectious groove, not unlike Spin Doctors in their prime, and "Cover's Blown" is exceptionally arranged and well-sung by Brent Kirby. Honky-tonkin' title cut rolls like a tumbleweed.

Jack Fords engaged roots-rock legend Eric "Roscoe" Ambel from the long-ago Del Lords to produce; he's worked with Steve Earle and Ryan Adams, among others. Ambel hones their organic, well-crafted songs without polishing or prettying them up too much. The CD simply sounds fantastic, and Bobby Latina remains a guitar force to be reckoned with.

Jack Fords will play June 11 at Mojo's Bar in Jamestown, N.Y., and make their long-awaited return to Erie on Aug. 14 at Docksider. Don't miss 'em.
- Erie Daily Times- June 7th, 2010

"Album Review - 'The Way Things Should Be' by The Jack Fords"

Whoever said they don't make rock albums like they used to probably never listened to the Jack Fords' new album, "The Way Things Should Be."

From start to finish, the Cleveland five-piece serves up the perfect balance of roots, blues, boogie, and ballad – cultivating a sound and attitude that's been sorely lacking in the music industry for more than a decade.

Featuring 12 original tracks written by front man Brent Kirby, "The Way Things Should Be" tackles a variety of themes – love, heartache, regret, vindication – among others. Through it all, Kirby's songwriting and lyricism is on full display with masterful rhyme structure, and just the right combination of metaphors, word-play and alliteration to make each song a unique and enjoyable listening experience. Kirby's Don Henley-esque voice is also a force to be reckoned with - clear and distinct but not at all over-powering.

Complimenting the lyrical and singing prowess of Kirby is the driving lead guitar of Bobby Latina (formerly with the Cowslingers), who's talent for ear catching riffs and solos goes hand-in-hand with Kirby's delivery and attitude. Keyboardist Chris Hanna also holds his own on the Piano and Hammond B3 on several tracks, including the highly contagious "Bent Outta Shape" and "Last Call Whistle." Rounding out the Jack Fords' lineup on the album is Greg Campolieti on drums and Tom Prebish on bass and backing vocals, who more than hold their own providing the backbeat and bassline.

Recommending or suggesting only two or three tracks doesn't at all do the album justice. If you are any kind of fan roots rock, each and every song is worthy of your MP3 player. But I will say several have achieved 5-Star status on my iPod, including "Who do you Trust?," "The Way Things Should Be," "Bent Outta Shape" and "Done you Right."

And then there's the ballad "Together We Rise" – a song in which Kirby puts his heart on full display – and it pays off. A true love song, this track is an immediate contender for best wedding song no one knows about. Hopefully, that won't be the case forever. The Jack Fords are too good at what they do to have that be their only noteworthy distinction.

Copies of "The Way Things Should Be" will be available when the Jack Fords perform June 11 at Mojos on E. 2nd St. in Jamestown. Opening act will be local favorites King Rail. The Jack Fords are also scheduled to play Docksider in Erie on Aug. 13.

NOTE - The Jack Fords are now a 4-piece as keyboardist Chris Hanna moved to Nashville to pursue other opportunities. Greg and Tom are no longer in the band as well. Replacing the departed members are Ed Sotelo (whos been with the group for over a year) on bass and Jim Wall on drums."We are now a lean mean rock machine," says Bobby Latina.

- Chautauqua Star- June 10, 2010

"Muffin Man Reviews: Jack Fords "The Way Things Should Be""

The Jack Fords were formed out of a jam session at the now defunct Town Fryer. Core members Brent Kirby and Bobby Latina anchor the current lineup, which is rounded out by bassist Ed Sotello and drummer Jim Wall. The CD is full of foot stompin, beer drinkin barroom rock that will get you dancing. The CD release party at the Happy Dog earlier this year was packed, and for good reason. Kirby has a strong yet melodic voice, which Latina’s cowpunk style of his former band The Cowslingers shines through. Wall is a solid drummer, while Sotello attacks the bass. Tom Prebish and Greg Campolieti handled bass and drum duties on the recording, while Chris Hannah added piano and organ.

The opening track “Cutting Blow” reminds me of ZZ Top, while “Old Habits Die Hard” has a Tom Petty-ish groove to it. My favorite song on the CD is probably “Who Do You Trust”, with its active bass line and breaks in the chorus. “Brightest Star” shows of the bands softer side. Most of the songs remind me of a heavier, rowdier John Mellencamp mixed with the guitar sound and crunch of AC/DC. Kudos to the band for putting the words “Cleveland, Ohio” firmly on the cover. The CD ends appropriately with my second favorite song ”Last Call Whistle”, which really emphasizes Latina’s punk/rockabilly talents.

All in all, if you like guitar driven heavy rock with a touch of americana and punk, then this is the CD for you.


- Rock Capital Radio.com


"Bent Outta Shape" May 2006
"Cutting Blow" EP June 2008
"The Way Things Should Be" May 2010



Experiencing a Jack Fords show makes the witness feel as though they are watching a bit of history going down. There is an raw, honest, genuine, spontaneous approach to their live show that has made their listeners believers. They are most at home and their best tearing through four-hour sets in smoky dirty clubs and bars, with creaky floors, spilled beer, broken glass, and fantastic crowds. This was the momentum behind the Cleveland band being crowned 2007 and 2009's “Best Rock Band” by the Cleveland Scene and their readers, less than a year of their debut release, “Bent Outta Shape”. They just release their new CD, "The Way Things Should Be" produced by veteran roots rock producer Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (Ryan Adams, Steve Earle, The Bottlerockets) on May 4th 2010.

The Jack Fords were formed in 2005 when guitarist Bobby Latina met songwriter Brent Kirby at the now legendary Town Fryer, the same bar that would later host the live recording of “Bent Outta Shape”. Immediately, they furiously started connecting the dots of their own musical backgrounds and influences, and realized they had fallen upon something special and unique.

The end result was an ambitious debut of epic new songs with equal parts Dylan, Zeppelin, Stones, Gram Parsons, Otis Redding and Black Crowes that showcased Kirby’s concise and cinematic lyrics and Latina’s amazingly intense, powerful guitar delivery. Add veteran musicians, Jim Wall on drums and Ed Sotelo on bass, and you have the makings of a rock’n’roll powderkeg.

The Jack Fords have shared the stage with Marah, Joe Bonamassa, James Gang, Leslie West, Ian McLagan, The Trews, Heartless Bastards, The Brakes, Bottlerockets, Shurman, Will Hoge, The Yayhoos, Stacie Collins, Limbeck, The Damnwells, Michael Stanley, Cleveland Blues All Stars and Red Wanting Blue.

The Jack Fords are the genuine article, greasy American rock’n’roll that is delivered with a charismatic, confident swagger. Go to www.jackfords.com for more information on the band.