Colt Ford consistently blazes his own trail. By doing so, the Georgia singer, songwriter, rapper, musician, performer, and co-founder and co-owner of Average Joes Entertainment keeps up pace as country’s preeminent independent maverick.
By 2019, Colt built a series of staggering successes as he rose to mainstream notoriety. He notched five consecutive Top 10 debuts on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart with Declaration of Independence bowing at #1 in 2012. Two years later, Thanks for Listening ascended to the Top 10 of the Top 200, with the album reaching #1 on Billboard Rap & Independent charts. Meanwhile, he lobbed six songs onto the Hot Country Songs Chart with “Back” [feat. Jake Owen] going Top 40. Among many accolades, Ford received a nomination in the category of “Vocal Event of the Year” at the Academy of Country Music Awards for “Cold Beer” with Jamey Johnson.
Selling over 3 million albums, attracting millions of followers on social media and hitting 1 billion-plus streams, the country rap pioneer’s dynamic discography spans collaborations with everyone from Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Jermaine Dupri to members of No Doubt, Lit, and Lady Antebellum. Additionally, he co-wrote Jason Aldean’s #1 hit “Dirt Road Anthem” and Brantley Gilbert’s #1 hit “Country Must Be Country Wide” as a behind-the-scenes force in the studio. Moreover, Ford’s solo tradition of genre-blurring continued on Love Hope Faith in 2017 by way of cuts such as “Reload” [feat. Taylor Ray Holbrook], his We The People, Volume 1 album and on into his Keys to the Country EP in 2021 with Kevin Gates, RVSHVD and more.
The dynamic Keys to the Country EP was produced by Noah Gordon and Colt Ford, with Shannon Houchins serving as Co-Producer (Colt and Shannon co-own Average Joes Entertainment). In between a marathon tour schedule, they recorded at Colt’s studio in Nashville. Throughout the process, the star pushed himself like never before, maintaining the hallmarks of his signature style, charting new territory, and hitting his most prolific stride to date alongside rapper, Kevin Gates in their well received track, “Hood” with Jermaine Dupri.
On the Keys to the Country EP, Ford continues to evolve his artistry and—as only he can—amp things up even further. Fittingly, he introduces the EP with the first single “When Country Comes Back,” as the world was ending a near global shutdown.
“The Keys to the Country EP is really me,” he elaborates. “So much of my success is a result of the fact that I am my songs. You’re getting me in the lyrics! I don’t have chauffeurs, ten sports cars, or my own jet. That’s all cool, but I’m just Colt Ford. It’s relatable.”
Ford continued to blur the lines of what country rap with “Hood” featuring world renowned rapper, Kevin Gates, and Jermaine Dupri. At heart, it’s a song about unification—no matter race, color, or religious affiliation. Music has a way of bringing people together, and that’s the exact message in this song.
Overall, the EP doubles as a soundtrack for positivity and living life to the fullest for these times. Of course, Ford preserves the right amount of grit and wit to liven and light up any party as his blend of Southern rock, modern country, and rap remains downright unbeatable. Alongside guests such as Vince Gill [“Keys to the Country”], Josh Mirenda [“My Town”], Matt Stell [“Bad Beer“], and more, his lead vocals and raps remain as robust and uniformly strong as ever. Nevertheless, “If I Didn’t Know Better” featuring Jana Kramer marks an emotional high watermark for the Keys to the Country EP. This vulnerable, vibrant, and vital ballad illuminates Ford’s impressive range as he carries a heart-wrenching hook to the heavens and back.
“I have to say ‘If I Didn’t Know Better’ is a real, true, and defining moment for me,” he admits. “It’s how I sing and where I feel good at. It’s a straight-up country power ballad that honestly every man in the world should listen to and realize what mistakes not to make. It changed a lot for me. Having Jana Kramer on the track was just icing on the cake. She is an incredible singer and fun to work with.”
As Ford kicks off his next powerful chapter, he holds nothing back on the Keys to the Country EP.
“Listen to these tracks…you’ll know exactly who I am,” he leaves off. “Colt Ford is about God, family, friends, and America. I’m just a guy who loves life. I love people. I love knowing I could make a difference in somebody else’s life with a song. I hope you walk away with a smile on your face. I poured my heart and soul into this one. This ain’t a hobby. It’s life. The fans are the reason I’m here. I’m going to keep doing it for them. I feel like the luckiest man on planet earth, so I’m not stopping,” he laughs.