Former gay adult film star Colton Ford shows off both his physical and musical muscle with the release of his Quentin Harris produced debut Tug of War. Plus: Broadway star Idina Menzel turns her attention from the stage to the airwaves with her impressive first solo recording I Stand and Janet Jackson requests your "Feedback".
Colton Ford / Tug of War
If you can tear yourself away from the ‘artwork' that graces the cover of Colton Ford's new CD, Tug of War, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the ridiculously hunky Mr. Ford is more than just another ultra-sexy former gay adult film star turned musician.
While most may know Ford from his leading man work in numerous gay porn flicks like Falcon's Aftershock and Jocks' Head Games or from his documentary film Naked Fame which chronicles his efforts to transition away from the adult film biz, many might be surprised to know that well-built, silver haired daddy type is a serious musician who has already had a Top 10 single on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart singing opposite gay fave diva Pepper Mashay.
Tug of War, Ford's first major music collection, builds upon his initial chart success with a sunny mix of pop/dance numbers and soulful ballads that far exceed expectation.
Produced by Quentin Harris, whose remixing prowess has shined on tracks as diverse as Jason Walker's "Foolish Mind Games" and Patti Labelle's "New Day," Tug of War paints a fully fleshed out portrait of what Colton Ford is capable of, vocally and otherwise.
From the opening salvo provided by a trio of high energy dance numbers ("Ready," "You Ain't Gonna Change," and "Gotta Do") to the supremely trance-oriented first single "The Way You Love Me" to smooth R&B infused ballads like "You Get What You Get" and "It'll Be Alright", Ford sails across genres carefully and astutely adapting his style to suit each along the way.
Some might call this album slightly schizophrenic for this reason, but to my thinking, the schizophrenic shifts personalities unconsciously, while Ford's choices appear completely conscious and indeed calculated to shut down any naysayers who might have been inclined to count him out without so much as a listen.
Don't let the sexy photos that tout the disc fool you. Tug of War is a surprise of an album on every level and Colton Ford is certainly more than the sum of his six pack and bulging biceps.
(More Information | Read the CP Interview with Colton Ford)
Idina Menzel / I Stand
Idina Menzel has a sound as unique as her name.
She conquered Broadway with both her Tony Award nominated turn as Maureen in the original production of Rent and her Tony Award winning performance in the lead role in Wicked. She has also won the undying affection of Hollywood leading man and Private Practice star Taye Diggs, to whom she is married. Now Idina Menzel is hoping to steal the hearts of America with her shimmery vocals, sultry good looks and debut album, I Stand.
Produced by Glen Ballard, who has worked with everyone from Celine Dion to Alanis Morrisette, Menzel's first solo recording offers the promise of a new diva that the gay community is likely to embrace with open arms. Menzel has a big voice, a penchant for ballads and a toe curling upper range that will leave you breathless. Need I say more?
On the album preview I recently received, Miss Idina steers directly into adult contemporary territory with the inspirational, light rock title ballad "I Stand", on which her piercing vocals are nothing short of arresting, and the equally soul-stirring "Better To Have Loved."
This may be the first you've heard of Idina Menzel, but it certainly won't be the last. Hers is a name that you will certainly hear more of as this disc's release date rolls around on January 29. Until then, stay tuned, because Idina Menzel may well be the first breakout star of 2008.
(Buy CD on shop.chicagopride.com)
Janet Jackson / "Feedback"
Janet Jackson is back again and sounding much more upbeat. After the dismal reception her last album received, Miss Jackson seems to have learned a valuable lesson about what her fans expect from her.
Decidedly more pop-oriented and less urban, "Feedback" is not necessarily a slam dunk hit, but it certainly is more memorable than nearly every track on 20 Y.O., a collection that came out to a great deal of fanfare and died shortly thereafter with an inaudible whimper.
Hopefully the infectious hook and sassy attitude stamped all over "Feedback" hints at the return of a favorite rather than the end of an era.
Until next time... Cheers!
Written By Duane Wells