Watching Robben Ford take the stage is equal parts gratifying, awe-inspiring, and challenging-a perfect storm of creativity and emotion that results in some seriously good music. As soon as he plays his first note, you realize that you’re in the presence of a bonafide guitar master. With five Grammy nominations, a three-decade-long solo career, and a resume that includes Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, and George Harrison, his accomplishments reflect the versatility and musicality of someone who has pursued their true calling. During a live performance, Robben is acutely tuned in, feeding off of the energy of the audience, and fully prepared to throw you a curve ball at any moment. In other words, it’s an experience not to be missed. The same could be said for his new record, Purple House (2018). This remarkable collection of songs features Ford’s enlightened approach to composition and improvisation.