Five facts about T-Model Ford you should know

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Peter Lee

T-Model Ford is sweet tea spiked with moonshine -- something simple and sweet, but with a hell of a kick. In the late 1990s, Fat Possum Records discovered him and put out his first album, Pee-Wee Get Your Gun. Since then, he's recorded five more albums, including his latest, I'm a Ladies' Man, which is being hailed by some critics as his best yet. And he's already recorded an album that Alive Naturalsound Records will release early next year.

He may look sweet and old, but he'll rip through the blues like nobody's business -- and he'll do it till dawn unless you stop him. T-Model Ford can probably drink most everyone under the table and keep on playing, taking shots of Jack Daniel's between songs. Despite his advanced age, he's known to play for up to eight hours at a time.

Fresh off a date at the prestigious All Tomorrow's Parties festival, T-Model Ford roars into town with his particular blend of sparse, stomp-inducing Delta blues for a show at 3 Kings Tavern tomorrow night before heading off to the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival on Sunday. In advance of his pair of Colorado gigs, we pulled together a list of five things you should know about this Delta bluesman.

1). No one knows his real age -- not even him.

T-Model Ford thinks he might be ninety. But in 2008, NPR said he's around eighty. The official record puts his birth somewhere between the years of 1921 and 1925. According to his MySpace page, "T-Model's 80-something years old...his Mississippi Driver's License says he's 84, his US Passport says he's 87, and he says he's 88...so you decide." He's said he thinks he'll live to 110. And while he had a minor stroke earlier this year, we have no doubt he'll make it as long he's playing the blues.

2) He was already a senior citizen when he started playing.

He began learning guitar somewhere around the time he was 58 years old, building on his recollection of other greats like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson. He spent seventeen years sharpening his skills in juke joints and playing the sidewalk of Nelson Street in Greensville, Mississippi. He's now considered a Delta blues legend and has influenced a generation of artists.


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