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The Apache Relay

Meet singer and bassist Michael Ford Jr. from The Apache Relay, an indie rock band he formed in Nashville while studying  at university.  With Mike Harris on guitar and vocals, Brett Moore on keys, guitar and mandolin, Ben Ford also on guitar and vocals and Kellen Wenrich playing fiddle, Michael and his friends successfully combine acoustic bluegrass elements to their rock foundation.  To follow its acclaimed debut LP titled 1988 in 2009, The Apache Relay released American Nomad almost a year ago last April which they are still heavily promoting on the road to a crowd of rabid fans.  I think that Paste Magazine was on to something when describing The Apache Relay as one  of “The Eight Most Auspicious Musical Debuts of 2009".  Where American Nomad will take The Apache Relay remains unanswered for now but promises to be an exciting and fun musical journey.  For more info on this band and tour dates, visit: TheApacheRelay.com

Interview by: Valerie Bastien
Valerie: Can you please introduce yourself. Talk to me about your music.

Michael Ford, Jr.: I’m the lead vocalist of The Apache Relay. I seek to write honest songs and to create vast amounts of depth, texture, dynamic, and space within those songs.

Valerie: What inspires your writing? Tell me about your latest album.

Michael Ford, Jr.: Writing for me is typically inspired by personal life events, however on American Nomad I was especially inspired by the idea of exploration and the freedom to pick up and go anywhere at any time.

Valerie: What makes you proud?

Michael Ford, Jr.: From a musical stand point, what makes me proud is being able to listen to a recording I’m a part of and truly feel like what I’m hearing back is beyond me.

Valerie: Why did you feel the title represented the overall delivery of this album?

Michael Ford, Jr.: I feel the title represents the album well because while there are many more themes present on American Nomad aside from fearless exploration, I believe the notion was the backbone of the record and the overarching concept.

Valerie: How do you feel you have grown musically since your beginnings in the music industry that makes you unique and who you are today?

Michael Ford, Jr.: One of the main ways I have grown musically that I believe has made me a more unique writer is that I’ve learned to trust my instincts and in doing so further forging my own creative path.

Valerie: What is the first single for this album and what is it about?

Michael Ford, Jr.: The first single off the album is the tittle track American Nomad. It’s about fearless exploration and becoming new in the process of doing so.

Valerie: What is your favourite song on this album?
Michael Ford, Jr.: My favorite song on the record is Lost Kid,  lyrically and melodically I feel it’s the strongest on the record.

Valerie: Is it important to you to write meaningful lyrics? Explain what song in particular resonates with you on a personal level.

Michael Ford, Jr.: Lyrics are incredibly important to me, sharing songs/lyrics is an extremely vulnerable expression and I want to be able to stand behind every word with confidence. If I had to pick, I would say I resonate the most with Lost Kid.

Valerie: What song would you hope for people to relate to specifically and why?
Michael Ford, Jr.: I would hope for listeners to identify with Home Is Not Places because the struggle to find a sense of home no matter one’s geographical location is something I feel we are all trying to come to terms with in our human condition.

Valerie: Do you have any near future touring plans? Where can we buy your music and see you play?
Michael Ford, Jr.: Loads of touring ahead! As I’m typing we are heading to SXSW for a busy week of shows then, to Canada, and then to the North East in mid April. Our music as well as our updated tour dates can be found on our website: TheApacheRelay.com


Valerie Bastien is a vocal coach, teacher, musician and freelance journalist.
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