Photo by Jim McDermott
A new solo album had been on Jeff McErlain’s to-do list for a while, however the nexus of material, time, and money had to come together in just the right way. While McErlain was teaching at Robben Ford’s Guitar Dojo summer camp, Ford suggested that they do an album together. Coincidently, Ford was also in the early stages of starting his own label and had taken up residence in Nashville. The pieces were all coming together for McErlain, an NYC-based blues-rocker who has made his name as a top-notch instructor through TrueFire. The resulting album, Now, will be released on February 25.
“It’s Your Groove” is a funky tune that appeared in a different version on McErlain’s first solo album. “It reminded me of Miles Davis with that angular, diminished head,” says McErlain. Although the music came from McErlain, the new title was based on something Miles said to Ford when he called him up to join his band. “Because the song sounded fresh to me, I brought up the idea of recording it on this album,” says Ford. Over the years, through countless gigs around NYC, McErlain developed the song into a hip jam vehicle that pushed Ford into a style that he hadn’t explored recently.
Now was recorded at Sound Emporium in Nashville and features drummer Terence Clark, bassist Anton Nesbit, and was engineered by Casey Wasner.
The album’s basic tracks were recorded in Nashville at Sound Emporium, a legendary room, with engineer Casey Wasner, who worked on Ford’s latest album, Purple House. Drummer Terence Clark and bassist Anton Nesbit were brought in to round out the quartet. Ford’s approach to producing was all encompassing, from the smallest details to the overall vision of the album. “Producing is what I want to do from here on out, and I realize that all of the really successful producers found a mode in which to work that really doesn’t change from record to record,” says Ford.
McErlain kept his signal simple for the album. For “It’s Your Groove” it was his Michael Tuttle Custom Classic T through Ford’s ’71 Marshall Super Bass. McErlain also used his own vintage Marshall Super Lead and a pair of Two-Rock models: a Bloomfield Drive and a Classic Reverb Signature. Naturally, Ford relied on his trusty Dumble along with a 1952 Fender Telecaster and a custom-made PRS SC594. The big surprise was when it came time for Ford’s solo on “It’s Your Groove,” he stepped on an Electro-Harmonix POG for some octave-style organ effects.
Following the release of Now, both McErlain and Ford have plans to tour together and work some of the new material into the set. Keep an eye on jeffmcerlain.com for more information.