Born in Edmonton in 1949 to American parents, Dwayne Ford began taking piano lessons at the age of five, and started his professional musical career when he was only 16.
Shortly after, he joined The Nomads, one of Alberta’s top acts at the time, learned his craft, and then moved to Toronto by 1970, where Ronnie Hawkins hired him for his Rock and Roll Revival and Travelling Medicine Show. But by 1971 the band broke off from Hawkins, and he formed Atkinson Danko and Ford with fellow castaways Jim Atkinson and Terry Danko. The trio was on the circuit for a few months but soon the R &R Revival reunion was complete, when Hugh Brockie (who’d made the original journey from Edmonton to Toronto with Ford) and Brian Hilton joined.
One self-titled album as Atkinson Danko and Ford was re-released as Bearfoot‘s debut in 1973. A follow-up album came later that year, but when the group disbanded, the third Bearfoot album in ’75, PASSING TIME, was distributed by Columbia as ‘Dwayne Ford & Bearfoot,’ although it was really Ford with a group of session players.
After forming Dogs of War – good for one self-titled album in 1977, he spent the rest of the decade working as a producer and songwriter, and was behind wife Patsy Gallant‘s million-selling English breakout single, “From New York to LA.” Two duet singles with Gallant were also released in 1979 and 1980 – “We’ll Find A Way” and “Everlasting Love,” and he also wrote her top 40 hit “It’s Got To Be You.”
His first solo album came in 1981 with NEEDLESS FREAKING on Sefel Records, producing the singles “Stranger In Paradise,” “Lovin’ And Losin’ You,” and “The Hurricane.” None of the singles set the world on fire, but the album established a long working relationship with David Foster, Toto’s Steve Lukather and Jeff and Mike Porcaro, and Bobby Cameron. They would all appear on his projects again throughout the years, and Ford would also reciprocate on theirs.
After moving to southern California, where he continued working as a producer and songwriter, he decided the independent route was the way to go, and released his sophomore solo album, ANOTHER WAY TO FLY, in 1996. But the lack of backing from a major label meant no singles were cut, despite a warm embrace of the record from the critics for tracks like “No Prayer,” “Look to the East,” and the title track.
Returning home to Edmonton, he built his own studio and kept busy with songwriting and studio work, and also got into television and film production, until his next album, 2007’s SOME DAY.Along with re-recordings of four tracks from the previous album, it also included short and long versions of “Military Delight.”
2009 saw Ford release the ON THE OTHER SIDE album. That same year saw two of his songs, “Follow The Buffalo” from ANOTHER WAY TO FLY and the previously unreleased “Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride” appeared on the patriotic compilation album, THIS IS MY AMERICA.
Throughout his career, Dwayne Ford has worked with dozens of the world’s top artists, as a songwriter, studio musician, and as a producer. His list of credits include the likes of David Foster, Michel Pagliaro, Donovan, Carroll Baker, and Patricia Dahlquist. In 2010 he added ‘author’ to his resume, when he penned the cookbook “Rock This Kitchen,” which included recipes for bachelors with stories of different musicians.
Along with accepting eight SOCAN awards, he’s been the recipient of awards from The American Song Festival and The Tokyo Music Festival, the AMPIA (Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association), and has a Juno nomination to his credit. His film and television scores include 20 travel vignettes for CBC Sports, three one-hour specials entitled “War Surgeons,” “The Truth About Moon Landings” (a highly controversial documentary seeking to debunk the conspiracy theory about the US lunar missions), three one-hour specials for Discovery Health entitled “Amazing Births,” three one-hour documentaries for Reader’s Digest and The Learning Channel called “Great Canadian Wilderness,” and several public service announcements.