Colt Ford credits his loyal fan base with helping him to achieve success in country music. He will be among the featured performers this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton.
By Jason A. Smith
Country-music singer Colt Ford knows he doesn't fit the mold of a traditional musician in today's music scene. Still, he said, he prides himself on his ability to be "real" with audiences.
"In a world of good-looking dudes with $500 blue jeans, I'm out there with $39 Wranglers," said Ford. "I think, if you're not real and honest with your music, people will figure that out. The great thing about music is, there are no rules. Being authentic is what it's all about."
Ford and his band will take the stage Sunday, at 1 p.m., at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) in Hampton. The performance, on the Coca-Cola Fan Stage outside the track, will be part of the Emory Healthcare 500 weekend at the speedway.
The 40-year-old singer from Athens, said although music has always been a part of his life, he did not initially seek a career as a singer. Instead, he played golf while attending college at the University of Georgia, and later pursued the sport as a way to make a living.
"I played for a living for almost 10 years," Ford said. "After that, I became a club pro here in Georgia."
After college, he made attempts to break into the music business, without a great deal of success. Ford said he was eventually drawn to the music world again, in 2006. "Most everybody said it wouldn't work, but I was a little too stubborn to listen to them," he continued.
Ford's diverse array of musical influences, includes country singer Waylon Jennings, and rap group Run-DMC. Ford said he has developed a loyal following of fans over the years -- a following which has grown in recent months with the success of the video for his newest song, "Chicken and Biscuits."
The musician credited his fan base with a significant portion of his success in music. "My fans are the best," he said. "I've never had a record in the top 40, but I've sold more records than 80 percent of the people that do."
Ford is looking forward to seeing some of those fans this weekend in his first performance at AMS. He has sung in the past, at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee, and Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
Ford added that, for him, there is little difference between performing at a NASCAR event and doing so in another venue. "Ninety-five percent of the fans that come to my concerts are NASCAR fans, if not 100 percent," he said.
Marcy Scott, director of marketing and promotion for AMS, said Ford's performance is part of a mission to create "the biggest Labor Day celebration in the USA."
"We are going the extra mile to provide more than a race for our fans," she said. "Colt's performing on the Coca-Cola Fan Stage. Many of our customers love country music. To be able to deliver entertainment so our fans get more bang for their buck is important. We strive to provide as many value-added activities as we can, so people leave AMS with a memorable experience."
Ford said he is particularly excited to return to his home state, and for listeners to hear his band, which he calls "one of the best live bands" in music.
"They'll have a good time," he said. "That's the way I designed it to be."