Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
7-16-2013 - Delta blues legend James Lewis Carter “T-Model” Ford has passed away after fighting the effects of a series of strokes since 2010. The exact date of T-Model’s birth is unknown, but the blues man is believed to have been roughly ninety.
James Lewis Carter Ford (born c. 1920, Forest, Mississippi) is an American blues musician, using the stage name T-Model Ford. Unable to remember his exact date of birth, he began his musical career in his early seventies and has continuously recorded for the Fat Possum Records label.
His musical style melds traditional Chicago Blues and juke joint
blues styles with the rawness of Delta blues and a rebellious attitude.
Alternately known as "The Taildragger",
Ford, in reference to his age, has been known to tell studio musicians,
"T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it's done."
Ford grew up working various blue collar jobs as early as his preteen years, such as plowing fields, working at a sawmill, and later in life becoming a lumber company foreman and then a truck driver. However, when reflecting on this time in his life, Ford recalls, "I could really stomp some ass back then. I was a sure-enough-dangerous man."
He ensuingly spent many of his years in conflicts with law enforcement. When asked about his run-ins with the law, he jokes, "I don't know [how many times I've been to jail]. How many? Every Saturday night there for awhile."
In 2008, Ford worked with the Seattle-based band, GravelRoad. The project began as a single event, with Ford needing assistance to play the Deep Blues Festival in Minnesota in July 2008. GravelRoad, long time fans of Ford and performers already scheduled for the Deep Blues Festival, agreed to provide support for a ten show US tour for Ford through July. GravelRoad continues to be T-Model's touring band, and is scheduling a Summer Tour for 2010.
T-Model had a pacemaker inserted at the end of that tour, but appeared on stage again with GravelRoad in 2008, 2009 and 2010. T-Model Ford suffered a stroke in the Spring of 2010, and despite difficulty with right-hand mobility, managed to complete a very successful Summer 2010 tour with his backing-band GravelRoad. This tour concluded with a high profile appearance at Pickathon Festival and a private recording party back in GravelRoad's hometown of Seattle. In addition, T-Model Ford and GravelRoad spent an afternoon in Los Angeles and recorded what will become a new album, to be released on Alive Naturalsound Records early 2011.
T-Model Ford and GravelRoad were hand picked by acclaimed American Independent film-maker Jim Jarmusch to open the 3rd day of the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival in New York over Labor Day weekend, 2010.