Early in the first verse of Allison Forbes’s new single, ‘Broken Radios’, it’s hard to avoid a sense of relief: we’re in such assured hands, and this is a great song, and Forbes is going to look after us all the way to the end. Her voice is rich and worldly, cracked and sweet. It’s a voice you want to hear at the end of a long day, or after life has taken a hard turn, even as this song is a call to arms about music, and specifically about the music that is disseminated to the world.
Forbes grew up in Tamworth, so she’s been involved in country music at its epicentre. She is a central figure in the town’s annual country music festival, supporting emerging artists by including them in line-ups with established artists at the shows she organises. So if anyone is qualified to have an opinion about music, to say ‘Give me colours that I can feel’, it is Forbes. ‘Broken Radios’ is the impassioned plea of someone who is deeply steeped and embedded in music. Produced by Shane Nicholson, Forbes’s regular ‘sparring partner’, as she calls him, the song comes from Bonedigger, her forthcoming debut album.