It’s 1999, and somehow you have secured a place in the contestant chair of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Regis Philbin sits across from you and the audience sits in quiet anticipation. The tension is so thick it seeps into the living rooms of the viewers watching from home. TV execs wait anxiously in the wings. This is it. Only one more question keeping you from one million dollars. You’ve exhausted all life lines – no more phone-a-friends, you can’t ask the audience, no 50/50. You’re on your own. You loosen your collar, hold your hands together to keep them from visibly shaking and take a deep breath. Keep your cool, you think to yourself. You’ve got this. As you exhale, Regis Philbin clears his throat and looks you in the eye…here we go…
“For 1 Million Dollars – Name the musician who has worked with all of the following musical legends: Bonnie Raitt, KISS, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, Barbara Streisand, Bob Dylan, Rickie Lee Jones and George Harrison.”
“Is it: 1. Robert Cray? 2. Derek Trucks? 3. Robben Ford? or 4. Tim Reynolds?”
The clock begins ticking…
The world waits for your final answer…
If you guessed Robben Ford, CONGRATULATIONS, you would now be a millionaire!
Robben Ford’s musical journey has been an impressive one and he is much more than just a name in the who’s who of musical trivia. If he wanted to, Robben could easily out name-drop most anyone, but that’s not what he’s looking to accomplish. Robben is dedicated to his music and he looks at each musical collaboration as an opportunity to hone his own craft. “I’ve worked very hard to master my craft as a musician and a songwriter, but other than relying on my strengths in those areas, I made sure there was room for new ideas and everything my collaborators brought to the music. When you’re open to different concepts and approaches, the most beautiful things can happen.”
Music runs in Robben’s family. Robben’s father, Charles, was a guitarist. At age 13, Robben picked up a guitar and taught himself how to play. When he was 18, Robben and his brothers Mark and Patrick formed the Charles Ford Blues Band in honor of their father and the band still performs today as the Ford Blues Band. The band of musical brothers quickly graduated from high school dances to clubs before Robben and Patrick began supporting harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite. From 1972-73, Twenty-one year old Robben played with blues giant Jimmy Witherspoon on festival stages. In 1974, Robben joined the historic fusion group Tom Scott & The L.A. Express and began touring with Joni Mitchell and played on Mitchell’s albums The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Miles of Aisles. Later that year ex-Beatle George Harrison enlisted Ford and Scott to join him on his Dark Horse tour, which was followed by more touring with Joni Mitchell. Ford went on to record and tour with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Phil Lesh and a host of others. By the time he joined Miles Davis’ group in the ’80s, he’d developed a signature approach based on an axis of blues, jazz, pop and rock.
After years of cutting his teeth on tour working with musical legends, Robben began to forge his own path as a solo artist in 1976 with the release of his album The Inside Story. Since the release of that first solo album, Robben’s discography has multiplied and embraces more than 35 albums under his own name and with his various bands. Over the years, Robben’s guitar prowess has garnered him five Grammy Award nominations and he was named one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century” by Musician magazine.
But at the end of the day, it’s all about the music for Robben. And his passion for his music shows in every guitar lick, every melody and every lyric.
“For me,” Ford says, “it’s all about the art. If you work hard at something you’re going to get better. I honestly think I reached a point with my writing…where I could just go with the flow and bring some of the best songs I’ve ever created to life.”
To watch Robben Ford rock the INFINITY HALL LIVE stage, be sure to tune into the premiere of Robben Ford on Infinity Hall Live on Friday July 24th at 10:00 pm on CPTV. Keep the magic going and join us for the Web Premiere Event on Facebook on Saturday, July 25th and Sunday July 26th!