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STARific Review: The Forbes Brothers - The Wrong End of the Bar

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In the last 11 or so years, The Forbes Brothers have become a coveted Michigan favorite. Through the years, they've developed a solid live show. Also, there's the team of writers: Forbes Brothers members Scott and Dennis Forbes, Ron Jacobs, and Jon Ross (plus Doug Moseley and J.C. Whitelaw) producing top-notch songs, and their sound is marketable and still uniquely distinguishable. Not to mention each of the seven members' sincere personalities that draw legions of fans to them. Now having released their latest album, things could very soon turn in the favor of The Forbes Brothers.

The first tune describes the rigors of being an OPENING ACT (consider "The headliner doesn't know that we exist" or "You'll find our name in the fine print on the back page" - hey, it happens!) But, they continue to persevere, because nothing beats getting out there on stage and playing to pack crowds! Lead singer Ronnie Jacobs' voice contains reminiscent traces of another Ronnie - that being Ronnie Dunn of hit-making duo Brooks & Dunn. TWO-STEP is a mid-tempo shuffle, which tells the tale of a man recovering from a heartache; all the while, the former lady of his life is out having herself a great time. Hoping is indeed what the man in the song has found, he declares, "I'VE BEEN TRAVELIN' all night long just tryin' to get next to you." "Contagious" is the only way to describe HIP HOP COUNTRY ROCK. The upbeat current single tactfully criticizes the closed-mindedness of some industry big-wigs. With gutsy lyrics like "The man down in Nashville... said you gotta be from here and that is all/the man never spoke with a southern drawl," you've got to admit they make some noteworthy points! Pair that with a catchy chorus, this is destined to be a fan favorite. When love goes wrong, TELL ME gets ugly. Listen for the complementary mandolin plunking in the background. MAYBE JUST ONCE has a couple reevaluating their relationship with each other. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics and driving beat will have hook you 'til the end! Basing on the idea that money can buy many things but it won't buy class, the philosophical DON'T WANT TO BE IMPORTANT ANYMORE tell how behaviors and actions - not power and money - make people who they are. That said, the guys work in some honky-tonking in THE WRONG END OF THE BAR. Through clever lyrics, the title cut recounts the potential consequences of what a couple beers can do to your state of mind! Anytime songwriters can fuse religious themes and references to Hank Williams, Sr., you're gonna get a great song out of it; in the case of this album that song is LAST LOST HIGHWAY. Powerful dreams of what could have been give way to reality in LOVERS IN DREAMS. The sole standout ballad is THE DIFFERENCE; the track features the wailing harmonica riffs created by the hands of 13-year-old sensation Sunny Girl. This could be considered a patriotic song, but more importantly, there's an underlying theme of giving your all to right a wrong. This is my personal favorite cut. The album closes with OVER AGAIN, a reflective tune reviewing proud moments and mistakes with no regrets.

In "Hip Hop Country Rock," The Forbes Brothers express common frustrations of up-and-coming artists trying to break into the music business: "Music comes from inside you and me/aint gotta mix it up with geography." Fortunately for listeners, some people DID believe in this "country band from Michigan," which prompted the release of this project. The whole album plays like an extended jam session, and we're all invited for a listen! Those who jumped the wagon early are still raving. There's a infectious bug going around, so what are you waiting for?! Purchase this superb album! Hopefully, you'll catch the buzz, too (and then pass on the word to others)!!


The Forbes Brothers
The Wrong End of the Bar
Released September 15, 2003
Topinabee Music

The Forbes Brothers


1. Opening Act
2. Two-Step
3. I've Been Travelin'
4. Hip Hop Country Rock
5. Tell Me
6. Maybe Just Once
7. Don't Want to Be Important Anymore
8. The Wrong End of the Bar
9. Last Lost Highway
10. Lovers in Dreams
11. The Difference
12. Over Again

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