By Brian Dukes
This year’s Fourth of July celebration at the Main Post Parade Field on Fort Bragg will feature headlining hard-rock act Chevelle and ascendant country-rap hybrid superstar Colt Ford.
For Ford, it’s the perfect way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.
“I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather be on the Fourth of July than at Fort Bragg,” said Ford in a recent telephone interview.
“I’m honored to perform for the troops,” he added. “We’re gonna have a great time.”
Ford, real name Jason Farris Brown, was a golf pro in his previous life, before he started mixing the musical genres of country and hip-hop – and with great success. His 2008 debut album, “Ride Through the Country,” spawned catchy singles “No Trash in My Trailer” and “Ride Through the Country.”
Earlier this year, in April, Ford released his follow-up album, “Chicken & Biscuits,” which climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart.
Ford spoke about the upcoming show, his gratitude for the military, and his latest album.
Observer: You’re no stranger to Fayetteville; you were at Jesters Pub earlier this year, and headlining at the 2009 Cumberland County Fair. How are things going?
Ford: I love Fayetteville and have had a lot of success there. Things are great, man. I’m excited about the new video for “Chicken & Biscuits,” because we do a spoof on the “Twilight” movies. Instead of wanting your blood, I want your chicken and biscuits. It’s hilarious; you can see it on CMT.com.
Observer: What can people expect when you hit the stage this Fourth of July?
Ford: It’ll be a new show; I constantly change and add different things. It’s going to be high-energy, and a lot of me giving thanks to the men and women serving our country.
Observer: What’s it mean to you to perform on the Fourth of July at one of the largest U.S. military bases in the world?
Ford: It means everything to me. When I saw that we were playing there, no one was more excited. I’m even bringing my little boy with me, and he’s a huge fan of the military. He’s very much into the Special Forces and Rangers. He sees those guys as heroes, and that’s just awesome.
Observer: What do you hope people – especially military personnel – take away from your show?
Ford: First, I hope they have fun. Second, I hope they realize how thankful I am for them and how much I appreciate them and their sacrifices and all that they do for us. That’s the bottom line. Without them, I’m not playing music.
Observer: How do you feel you’ve grown as a performer since you debuted two years ago?
Ford: I’m more comfortable now. It helps that I’ve got one of the best live bands you’ll ever see. I realize more and more everyday that it’s really about the fans.
Observer: What’s something you would go back and tell yourself to look out for two years ago?
Ford: I’d tell myself not to be discouraged by what other people say. There’s a lot of that, no matter how good you are. You’ve gotta believe in yourself and keep pressing forward. All I can do is be the best performer I can be and leave the rest in the Lord’s hands.
Observer: What can you tell us about your latest album, “Chicken & Biscuits”?
Ford: I felt like I really grew as a singer and songwriter on this album, but it was important for me to not lose who Colt Ford is. I didn’t want to take myself too seriously. I want people to know that I’m still all about God, family, friends and America.
Observer: How does the new album compare to your debut, “Ride Through the Country”?
Ford: When I made that first one, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, honestly. I learned a lot of things in the process. There are some structure changes to the songs now, and I’ve been able to work with some great people who got me squared away.
Observer: What’s up next for Colt Ford?
Ford: Hopefully, the video will help get me out there a bit more. CMT has said they’re going to help me out, and everyone needs a little help along the way. I got about 15 more new songs coming out at the end of the year or beginning of next that will be a second helping of “Chicken & Biscuits.”