The year of Covid, 2020, wreaked havoc on small businesses/organizations. “Weathering the Storm” will profile local businesses in an attempt to celebrate survival and the promise of calmer seas on the horizon. We ask about the enormous challenges they faced, how businesses adapted, what the future holds, and ultimately how, as a community, we may help them rise above the tides.
The Local Vocals sing “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” at Westford’s 9/11 ceremony, Sept. 11, 2021 at the public safety memorial courtyard.
“Anyone can be loud,” Guy Ford said, referring to the mantra of his band of 25 years. “But the hardest lesson a musician learns is that less is more.”
Ford felt a musical “spark” as a kid after borrowing his sister’s guitar. Soon, he was deeply inspired by the “joyful” guitar stylings of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Decades of hard work and a “less is more” mentality are on full display with Ford’s highly technical, skillful fingerstyle guitar technique—one that grounds the “musical layers” of The Guy Ford Band.
Ford’s a veteran of the Boston music scene having toured with his brother, Jeff, in The Ford Brothers Band in the 90s. Disappointment over the band’s break up led Ford on a new quest: one that ultimately led to the enduring Guy Ford Band.
The Guy Ford Band believes less is more when it comes to music.
For more than 25 years, the band has carved out a unique niche in the music world, performing in venues of varying sizes and private events on Boston’s North Shore. Ford attributes their distinctive sound to the talent and improvisational style of the band’s musicians. Cellist Daniel Rowe (affectionately nick-named Yo-Yo Rowe) met Ford at a mutual friend’s house in 1996 and now is integral to the band’s refined sound.
“I grew up in a family that listened almost exclusively to classical music,” said Rowe. “Guy thought that it would be interesting if I could play some songs with him in public. So, we worked through three or four songs. A short time later, I was plugged into his amp at a gig.”
Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and influential band member Brian Wheeler, has been lending his signature sound for decades.
“In addition to singing and playing, Brian does so much for the band,” Ford said, adding, “And, he knows everyone.”
A Marblehead resident since age seven, Wheeler has chaired Marblehead’s Festival of Arts Performing Arts Series at Crocker Park since the 1970s.
With Jack O’Soro on drums and Dave Gagnon on bass, the eclectic acoustic rock sound of the Guy Ford Band is complete. Whether covering Grateful Dead and Counting Crows classics or performing an original arrangement, the result is a delicate layering of instruments and harmonies.
The band’s “less is more” approach consistently fills venues for every performance.
The Guy Ford Band at the Beacon in Marblehead.
“The people who have been listening to us for the past 20-something years are as much a part of the process as anything we do while playing,” explained Rowe. “It’s their energy and reaction that helps us want to continue to create a real-time musical experience. It’s a great feeling when the band members and the audience are simply in the moment, wanting to participate in something fun, exciting, interesting, and never to be experienced again.”
Guy Ford Band will perform at Marina Beer Garden in Salem on September 18th and October 23rd. Fans are encouraged to follow @GuyFordBand on Facebook.