Alan Ford - Life loves LIVE
Orange is fortunate to have a vibrant and growing local live music scene. So, in conjunction with JAM Orange, we thought we’d introduce you to some of our talented local musicians. Catch them at Jam Orange’s monthly Open Mic Nights, or at a venue near you!
Alan Ford has been performing music for over 50 years and he’s in no hurry to stop.
“I don't think I'm a natural show off,” said Alan, “but I was in marching brass bands as a kid in the scouts and army cadets and I got used to performing in public. It is something that doesn’t bother me at all; I got quite comfortable doing it. I'm 67 now and I'm still doing it, I think it keeps you younger.”
Alan, originally from Shepparton in Victoria, joined the Navy in 1969. It was while serving, he took up the guitar and began to seek out others who shared his love of country music and classic rock and roll.
“Starting in the 70s I was involved in playing in bands on naval bases or whatever ship I was on,” said Alan.
“I started off on the drums and took up guitar playing and concentrated on lead to start with and singing later. It was actually travelling around South East Asia to places like Singapore, Hong Kong, New Guinea and the Philippines, I used to get up in bars where they had a band and ask to sing a few rock n roll songs. So that gave me the confidence, which I probably didn’t have back home and then it went on from there.
After a 20-year career in the Navy, Alan took up a railway job in Sydney, where he became heavily involved in the local country music scene.
“I started a band called Ford’s Crossing and we did quite a few gigs around the various RSLs and what not. I also was the bass player with the Country Road Band playing RSLs in Western Sydney for seven years and lead guitarist with the Belrose Country Music Club Band from 2005 to 2013 for our monthly shows,” he said.
“I was also involved in the Blacktown County Music Club and would often play in the backing band with them. And I did quite a bit of fill in work with other country bands when their bass player or drummer or one of the guitarists was off.”
It was actually while performing across the Central West that Alan decided he would like to retire on this side of the mountains.
“For over 20 years I'd been doing gigs in the Kandos, Rylstone area and I always had that trip over the mountains to get back home. I thought one day, when I retired, I wouldn’t mind moving out this way,” he said.
“And I liked the look of Orange and the fact it had a cooler winter and decided to move here after we sold up in Sydney.”
Since moving to Orange, Alan has reformed Fords Crossing and plays gigs around the Central West.
“I work anywhere from a one-man show to a four-piece band and we play old rock n roll, classic country western and swing and rockabilly — I like country music, but I like Country music with a beat you can dance to,” said Alan, who has also become a regular at the JAM Orange open mic nights.
He says he enjoys the diversity of talent on display each month.
“I think it is very good and for somebody like myself — before coming to Orange I was involved in the Country Music scene and well, this is different. It is all genres of music and even things like drumming troupes and so forth, so I enjoy the variety,” said Alan.
It's an opportunity for people young and old to come and do their music. It’s all good.”