The PHOENIX review of T MODEL FORD & GRAVELROAD “Taledragger”

By BARRY THOMPSON | January 7, 2011

An approximately 90-year-old ex-convict has persuaded hipsters everywhere to pretend to give a fuck about Mississippi blues, and that’s not even the most interesting thing about T-Model Ford. He has lost a testicle, totally killed somebody back when, been arrested a shit-fuck-ton of times, isn’t sure exactly when he was born, and didn’t record any music until he was well into his 70s. But nobody dances to a biography. Cynics can disparage T-Model for the same reason they can shit all over South African rap-ravers Die Antwoord: these performers’ extraordinary personas garner more attention than anything they do pertaining to music. Such assholes would be wrong about T-Model (though mostly correct about Die Antwoord). His live performances border on shamanic, and 10 percent of those hipsters will end up actually giving a fuck about the blues. Indeed, T-Model’s terrifying life story is less relevant than his music. So if you enjoy juke-joint jostlin’ and smoky-cool Delta blues, or if you’re captivated by their novelty, you’ll dig Taledragger. Especially “How Many More Years.” Hinging on a distorted, crunchy, low-end riff, it makes a perfect anthem for shooting heroin in a dive-bar bathroom.