There are many musicians who are deemed legendary for their contributions to the art, but for the man born James Lewis Carter, his entire existence seems to be the stuff of legend. From his origins plowing fields in Mississippi, followed by work in a sawmill, as a truck driver, and an eventual stint on a chain-gang for murder, the nonagenarian’s life experience is worth another century of songwriting.
And as a relative newcomer, he might say he’s just getting started. T-Model Ford was well into his well into his 70s before his music career kicked off. He releasing his debut album, Pee-Wee Get My Gun’, on Fat Possum in 1997. But he’s continued on, unfettered by grueling road schedules and unfelled by health issues that would have taken down a lesser man. A dislocated hip, a pacemaker, and even a stroke are not enough to stop Ford. And we’re thankful for that.
Last year, on the tour that yielded his latest album, Taledragger, the Mississippi bluesman visited the District and graced us with an extended set at the Velvet Lounge — with his trusty bottle of Jack Daniel’s in tow. This one’s been sitting in the vault for a bit, but we’re glad to finally share this with you.
T-Model Ford’s album, Taledragger, is available now from Alive Records.