ROBBEN FORD


BIO: Robben Ford is one of the premier electric guitarists today, particularly known for his blues playing as well as his ability to be comfortable in a variety of musical contexts. A five-time Grammy nominee, he has played with artists as diverse as Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Witherspoon, Miles Davis, George Harrison, Phil Lesh, Bonnie Raitt, Claus Ogerman, Michael McDonald, Bob Dylan, John Mayall, Greg Allman, John Scofield and many others. (See Discography) Born in 1951 in Woodlake, California, and raised in Ukiah, Robben was the third of four sons in a musical family. His father Charles was a country and western singer and guitarist before entering the army and marrying Kathryn, who played piano and had a lovely singing voice. Robben?s first chosen instrument was the saxophone, which he began to play at age ten and continued to play into his early twenties. He began to teach himself guitar at age thirteen upon hearing the two guitarists from The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. In the late 1960?s, Ford frequented the Fillmore and Winterland Auditoriums in San Francisco to see Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Albert King, B.B. King and all of the progenitors of blues. “It was an incredible time for electric guitar,” Robben recalls. On his interest in jazz, Robben says,” I fell in love with the sax-playing of Paul Desmond and The Dave Brubeck Quartet, and before long found Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Yusef Lateef, Roland Kirk, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, and of course, Miles Davis.” These influences have stayed with Robben, playing a large part in his particular blend of jazz and blues that define him as a guitarist and allow him to play in a wide variety of settings. After high school, Robben and his brothers Patrick (a blues drummer) and Mark (a blues harmonica player) formed The Charles Ford Band (named after their father), and recorded for the Arhoolie label. Robben (on sax and guitar) and Patrick went on to tour the U.S. with Chicago harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite, again recording for Arhoolie. Robben?s first attempt at forming his own jazz quartet was picked up by legendary blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon, which brought Robben to L.A. He toured the U.S. and Europe with Witherspoon and was seen by Tom Scott and members of The L.A. Express, who were about to begin a promotional tour with Joni Mitchell for her recording “Court and Spark.” Robben was invited to play guitar on the tour and played on two recordings with Mitchell and The L.A. Express. “The two years I spent with Joni were the most formative of my musical life. Joni was just brilliant and very accessible, and the members of The L.A. Express became good friends and teachers. It was great.” Beatle George Harrison invited Robben to join him on his “Dark Horse” tour of the U.S. and Canada, raising his musical profile even further. Shortly after the two month stint with Harrison, Robben moved to Colorado to take a much-needed break from music and to study with Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa. In 1977, he was approached by Elektra Records, which produced his first solo recording “The Inside Story” with a group of musicians who went on to become The Yellowjackets. Elektra closed their doors in the early 1980?s, leading to a time of uncertainty. Robben moved to San Francisco to be close to family and his early musical history. Soon his career would take another upward swing, recording and touring with Michael McDonald, securing a recording contract with Warner Brothers Records, and meeting his soon-to-be wife, actress Anne Kerry. After moving to New York with Anne, he was called to play with musical icon Miles Davis. “Producer Tommy LiPuma played Miles my work with the Yellowjackets, then three days later, Miles called me personally to join his band. Shocking!” Robben lamented having to leave Miles after only six months because of recording commitments with Warner Brothers, but was told by Miles that if he ever wanted to come back, “just come back.” Robben?s 1988 release for Warner Brothers, “Talk to Your Daughter” brought his first Grammy nomination (Best Contemporary Blues Recording) and he started touring the world under his own name. Still based in New York, he backed David Sandborn on the television show “Night Music,” in which Sandborn hosted a variety of musical acts. Robben toured with Sandborn in 1990, then moved back to southern California shortly thereafter to be closer to his own band. After leaving Warner Brothers, Robben signed with Stretch/GRP records, where he finally found a real home for his creativity, recording three CDs for them with his band “The Blue Line” (Tom Brechtlein on drums and Roscoe Beck on bass). After a very fruitful eight years, Robben disbanded the group and recorded two more CDs for the label which had then become Stretch/Blue Thumb: “Tiger Walk” (an instrumental recording produced in New York with Keith Richard?s rhythm section) and “Supernatural,” his most accomplished work up to that point as a songwriter. In 2000 Robben was invited to tour with Phil Lesh and Friends on a co-bill with Bob Dylan, reuniting him with Billy Paine and Paul Barrere of Little Feat, as well as drummer John Molo. “This experience gave me new respect for Jerry Garcia as a musician and songwriter. The songs and musical context were pure pleasure--real guitar music!” When his contract expired at Stretch/Blue Thumb, Robben signed with Concord Records, the largest independently-owned record company at the time. In 2002, he released “Blue Moon” and in 2003 “Keep on Runnin,” a recording full of the 60?s blues/R&B feeling with which he grew up. His third release for Concord was entitled “Truth." “I feel this is the best work I have done in terms of a solo recording. It is my most realized work as a songwriter, and I feel like I am reaching higher ground as a guitarist. “Truth” represents the blues as they are today; some of the songs are sociopolitical in essence, but not without humor, and the musical setting is fresh.” In 2007 Robben toured with the legendary guitarist, Larry Carlton, resulting in “Live in Tokyo” and an “unplugged” DVD, “The Paris Concert 2008.” Robben’s fourth release for Concord, Soul on Ten” is a “live” recording performed in San Francisco (2009). “People had been requesting a live recording for years and I had the right band, music, and venue to pull it off.” The CD also includes two studio tracks which feature Larry Goldings on B3 organ and John Button on bass. In 2010, Robben and a group of musical friends who have played in different combinations and contexts over the years decided to focus on a project together recording for Mike Varney’s Shrapnel label. The result was the formation of “Renegade Creation” with a self-named album. This is a rock band, Robben’s first, and the results have people talking: “Dare I say everyone who hears it, loves it!” says Robben. The other members are guitarist Mike Landau, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak. After much critical acclaim for “Renegade Creation” RC returned to the studio and produced “Bullet” which was released in June, 2012. In the past year Robben has also played internationally with the Miles Davis tribute band, “Mile Smiles,” featuring past Miles’ alums, Omar Hakim, Darryl Jones, Wallace Roney and Joey DeFrancesca, as well as touring with Bill Evans and Randy Brecker’s group, Soulbop.

Latest Articles


Shirley King Unveils New Studio Album Shirley King Unveils New Studio Album
by TV News Desk - May 12, 2020

Being the blues-singing daughter of B.B. King has earned Shirley King the title “Daughter of the Blues,” but she is an outstanding singer and performer in her own right and capable of singing any kind of music that comes her way. Just witness her newest full-length album, Blues For A King,... (more...)
Mike Zito Embarks on His ROCK N' ROLL WORLD TOUR 2020 Mike Zito Embarks on His ROCK N' ROLL WORLD TOUR 2020
by TV News Desk - January 29, 2020

Acclaimed blues-rock guitarist Mike Zito embarks on his 'Rock N' Roll World Tour 2020' (named for his recently-released Ruf Records album) with a local performance as the Mike Zito & Friends: A Tribute To Chuck Berry at Delmar Hall, 6133 Delmar Blvd., Saturday, February 8. Showtime: 8:00pm. Tickets:... (more...)
Mike Zito's Rock n' Roll World Tour Comes to Cafe Eleven Mike Zito's Rock n' Roll World Tour Comes to Cafe Eleven
by TV News Desk - October 31, 2019

Acclaimed guitarist Mike Zito kicks off his 'Rock N' Roll World Tour' (named for his brand new album on Ruf Records) with a local performance in St. Augustine at Cafe Eleven, 501 A1A Beach Blvd., Tuesday, November 12. Showtime: 8pm. Tickets: $20. (advance), $25. (door). Info: (904) 460-9311 or visit... (more...)
Ladies of Soul Rule September with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Oleta Adams, Jody Watley and Many More at Blue Note Ladies of Soul Rule September with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Oleta Adams, Jody Watley and Many More at Blue Note
by TV News Desk - August 29, 2019

September brings some of music's most iconic female performers including Motown stars Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Lady of Soul Oleta Adams and '80s icon Jody Watley. Local artists include the Honolulu Jazz Quartet, Henry Kapono presenting his Artist 2 Artist Concert Series featuring Blayne Asin... (more...)
Grammy Winning Guitarist Andrew Synowiec Releases His Debut Album, Second Story Grammy Winning Guitarist Andrew Synowiec Releases His Debut Album, Second Story
by BWW News Desk - May 29, 2019

Grammy Winner Andrew Synowiec has released his Debut album today entitled Second Story. The entire album was recorded in 6 hours at Band House Studios in Hollywood, CA.... (more...)
The Majestic Theatre Presents Michael McDonald The Majestic Theatre Presents Michael McDonald
by TV News Desk - February 11, 2019

Five-time Grammy Award-winner Michael McDonald performs at the Majestic Theatre (224 E. Houston St.) in San Antonio, TX on July 10, 2019 at 8PM. Tickets go on sale this Friday, February 15 at 10AM.... (more...)
Ben Poole Announced as Special Guest on Ana Popvic's UK Tour Ben Poole Announced as Special Guest on Ana Popvic's UK Tour
by TV News Desk - January 14, 2019

Ana Popovic is pleased to announce that British blues rock singer/song-writer/guitarist Ben Poole will be special guest on her May 2019 UK Tour on all dates except Chester. Ben recently released his critically acclaimed album “Anytime You Need Me” and will release his new single “Take It No More” on... (more...)
Ana Popovic Adds London Date to UK Tour Ana Popovic Adds London Date to UK Tour
by TV News Desk - November 28, 2018

Following the announcement of her upcoming May 2019 UK Tour, guitarist and singer songwriter Ana Popovic adds a date at the London Borderline on Saturday 11th May to the nationwide tour. Tickets are on sale via www.thegigcartel.com or the 24-hour box office 0844 478 0898.... (more...)
Michael McDonald to Bring the Holiday Hits to Philadelphia Region with Season of Peace Tour Michael McDonald to Bring the Holiday Hits to Philadelphia Region with Season of Peace Tour
by BWW News Desk - November 08, 2018

Five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald will bring his Season of Peace, Holiday and Hits Tour to Parx Casino® on Friday, November 30, 2018. Following the release of Season of Peace: The Christmas Collection on BMB, the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter will usher in the holidays in Bucks... (more...)
The Spear Shakers to Rock The Greenwich The Spear Shakers to Rock The Greenwich
by TV News Desk - November 07, 2018

Cincinnati's own Female Power Duo  The Spear Shakers (guitarist/vocalist Kelly Richey; percussionist Sherri McGee) bring their bruising blues and raging rock to The Greenwich, 2442 Gilbert Ave., Saturday, November 17. Showtime: 9:00pm. Tickets: $10. (includes complimentary appetizers). Info: (513) 2... (more...)
Star-Studded Salute To Hard Rock Legends KISS Receives A Very Special Reissue Star-Studded Salute To Hard Rock Legends KISS Receives A Very Special Reissue
by BWW News Desk - September 25, 2018

An incredible line-up of world-class musicians and vocalists gathered together, under the helm of Grammy award-winning producers Bob Kulick and Bruce Bouillet, to recreate 11 classics from the catalog of one of music's greatest, best-loved bands, the icons of theatrical shock rock, the mighty KISS! ... (more...)
Soul Singer Mike Farris Releases SILVER AND STONE on Compass Soul Singer Mike Farris Releases SILVER AND STONE on Compass
by BWW News Desk - September 07, 2018

Nashville native Mike Farris returns to his soul and R&B Roots with his new album, SILVER & STONE, out today on Compass Records.  Coming off of an incredible GRAMMY win for 2015's SHINE FOR ALL THE PEOPLE (Best Roots Gospel album), Farris has the energy and conviction of a man saved, a stack of anec... (more...)
Taj Mahal, Charlie Hunter, & More to Play City Winery Chicago this July Taj Mahal, Charlie Hunter, & More to Play City Winery Chicago this July
by TV News Desk - July 03, 2018

City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announces composer and multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal, guitar virtuosoCharlie Hunter and more. The following shows go on sale to the public on Thursday, July 5 at noon. All tickets will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.... (more...)
Fwd: Bassist Oytun Ersan & His Band of Jazz Fusion All-Stars Shine on Dynamic New Release FUSIOLICIOUS Fwd: Bassist Oytun Ersan & His Band of Jazz Fusion All-Stars Shine on Dynamic New Release FUSIOLICIOUS
by TV News Desk - June 29, 2018

On his brand-new sophomore release, Fusiolicious, Turkish Cypriot bassist Oytun Ersan has an all-star band on hand to present seven cooking original tunes. The music is expertly executed on an intriguing blend of electric and acoustic instruments, featuring giants of jazz fusion, including drummer D... (more...)
Pedro Capó, Darrell Scott and More On-Sale at City Winery Chicago Pedro Capó, Darrell Scott and More On-Sale at City Winery Chicago
by TV News Desk - June 26, 2018

City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announces Puerto Rican singer/songwriter Pedro Capó, Grammy nominee Darrell Scott and more. The following shows go on sale to the public on Thursday, June 28 at noon. All tickets will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.... (more...)
Rock Collective Firemelon Release New Single BEFORE GOODBYE Rock Collective Firemelon Release New Single BEFORE GOODBYE
by TV News Desk - June 25, 2018

Southern Californian based Firemelon creates their own distinct sticky Americana gumbo by fusing elements of twangy country guitars, gritty rock'n'roll and infectious pop melodies. The five-piece collective of accomplished musicians, consisting of Matthew Samia (Vocals, Guitar), Matt Bailey (Guitar,... (more...)
Michael McDonald Sets Summer Tour Dates Including the Hollywood Bowl with Kenny Loggins & Christopher Cross Michael McDonald Sets Summer Tour Dates Including the Hollywood Bowl with Kenny Loggins & Christopher Cross
by TV News Desk - June 12, 2018

Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald is on tour throughout North America this summer. Confirmed dates include two nights at Los Angeles' Hollywood Bowl with Kenny Loggins and Christopher Cross as well as performances at New York's South Street Sea... (more...)
Chick Corea, John Pizzarelli and More Scheduled to Play City Winery Chicago this Summer Chick Corea, John Pizzarelli and More Scheduled to Play City Winery Chicago this Summer
by TV News Desk - May 29, 2018

City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announces versatile jazz master Chick Corea and more. The following shows go on sale to the public on Thursday, May 31 at noon. All tickets will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.... (more...)
THE MUSIC OF CREAM – 50TH ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR to Hit North America THE MUSIC OF CREAM – 50TH ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR to Hit North America
by BWW News Desk - May 15, 2018

Following their successful 2017 inaugural tour across Australia and New Zealand, the pedigree of hallowed '60s trio Cream–Ginger Baker's son KOFI BAKER, Jack Bruce's son MALCOLM BRUCE and Eric Clapton's nephew* WILL JOHNS–have come together for the first time in North America to pay homage to the ba... (more...)
THE MUSIC OF CREAM: 50th ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR To Tour Across North America This Fall THE MUSIC OF CREAM: 50th ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR To Tour Across North America This Fall
by TV News Desk - May 14, 2018

Having received rave reviews in Australia and New Zealand from the media and fans alike, THE MUSIC OF CREAM -- 50TH ANNIVERSARY WORLD TOUR is primed to take over North America and celebrate the music and legacy their family members created. Prepare to hear personal stories and songs such as 'Sunshin... (more...)
City Winery Chicago Announces Average White Band, Howard Jones & More City Winery Chicago Announces Average White Band, Howard Jones & More
by TV News Desk - May 08, 2018

City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announces British pop star Howard Jones ("What is Love?") and more. The following shows go on sale to the public on Thursday, May 10 at noon. All tickets will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.... (more...)
Legendary Blues Rock Guitarist Joe Bonamassa Announces Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea's Milestone Fifth Voyage Legendary Blues Rock Guitarist Joe Bonamassa Announces Keeping The Blues Alive At Sea's Milestone Fifth Voyage
by BWW News Desk - May 07, 2018

Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation, Joe Bonamassa, and Sixthman are proud to present Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea V. Being Hailed as the 'Biggest Blues-Rock Party at Sea,' this music festival is celebrating five incredible years featuring Bonamassa and some of the most celebrated names in blues. S... (more...)
Jane Lynch, James Hunter, & More to Play Chicago's City Winery Jane Lynch, James Hunter, & More to Play Chicago's City Winery
by TV News Desk - April 24, 2018

City Winery Chicago, 1200 W. Randolph Street, announces holiday concerts with award-winning singer, actress, and comedian Jane Lynch ("Glee") and more. The following shows go on sale to the public on Thursday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m. All tickets will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.... (more...)
Virtuoso Blues/Rock Guitarist Paul Nelson Announces 2018 North American Tour Dates Virtuoso Blues/Rock Guitarist Paul Nelson Announces 2018 North American Tour Dates
by TV News Desk - February 22, 2018

Paul Nelson is recognized as one of today's most talented guitarists and live performers. Nelson not only has the distinction of being the hand-picked guitar protégé, bandmate and producer to legendary rock/blues icon Johnny Winter but he has toured the world over performing and or recording alongsi... (more...)
Singer/Songwwriter Michael McDonald Appears on TONIGHT SHOW & More Singer/Songwwriter Michael McDonald Appears on TONIGHT SHOW & More
by BWW News Desk - December 18, 2017

Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter and five-time Grammy Award winner Michael McDonald performed his single Find It In Your Heart on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Friday night... (more...)