It would very easy to dismiss Colt Ford’s debut album “Ride Through The Country” as nothing more than another sign that country music has lost its way but to do so would be a mistake. Yes, Colt Ford is a rapper, yes he raps over country melodies and beats but not nearly the same way that Cowboy Troy did. While Cowboy Troy’s fun music often felt like a novelty, Colt Ford’s “Ride Through The Country” is an underground, indie rap album that recalls southern rapper Bubba Sparxx.
The album starts off with the John Michael Montgomery-assisted “Ride Through The Country” and while the song is another in a long list of country songs that proclaim country music, it also is basically what Colt Ford is about and why he’s dong what he’s doing. In addition to singing the ‘hook,’ Montgomery also plays the lead guitar on the track, something he sometimes does in his own stage shows. This is a laid-back, easy on the ears track that works quite well. “No Trash In My Trailer” runs through so many country clichés that it really does work well for a parody of all of the damn ‘I’m Country, dammit” songs out there and it’s just fun. Also, there is more steel guitar and fiddles present in this song than half of the mainstream country songs on the charts.
Jamey Johnson helps Colt with the fun, bar anthem “Cold Beer.” Really the title says all you need to know about it, aside from the fact that the country melody flat out rocks and Rob Hajacos distinctive fiddle plays out the track. If there is any song on “Ride Through The Country” that has a chance at country radio success it has to be “”Never Thought,” a song which features Lindsey Hager singing the choruses. Colt really reminds one of southern rapper Bubba Sparxx on the track “Waffle House,” which is an ode to the southern highway off-ramp staple. Jamey Johnson co-wrote “Tailgate” with Jeremy Popoff and Colt and the song is a southern rockin’ party anthem, which, at the end of the day, is what a lot of “Ride Through The Country” is: just pure silly fun.
“Like Me” finds Ford in full-on hip hop boastful mode. Like many rappers, Colt Ford isn’t above interpolating something or outright taking a familiar melody, in this case Steve Miller’s “Gangster of Love” and turning it into something different. Colt Ford is joined by fellow southern rapper Bonecrusher on the track. This collaboration is noteworthy for it shows that the hip hop community takes Colt Ford as seriously as many in the country music community do. While there is no doubt that some (perhaps many) people will never warm to the fact that country music can be mixed with hip-hop/rap, Colt Ford has proven, even better than Cowboy Troy did, that it can be done. Does this mean the mainstream radio stations will play “Ride Through The Country?” Probably not but that doesn’t mean that Colt Ford doesn’t have himself a successful album that has an audience, because he does and will continue to.