Allison Forbes is well known to anyone who has been visiting the Tamworth Country Music Festival in recent years. Not only is Forbes one of the artists who plays at least once a day throughout the festival, she also organises shows that bring emerging artists, in particular, to audiences. Her distinctive voice is recognisable instantly, the sort of voice that gets described as ‘powerhouse’ because she’s such a strong singer – but Forbes’s new album, Bonedigger, also demonstrates just how complex it is. Forbes can belt it out, and that would be the easy thing to do on each and every song.
Perhaps it would even be easier for some listeners, because it might hold us at one remove from the honesty and emotion of the lyrics. But Forbes is far too honest a performer for that. These songs are about her, and she finds the right way to deliver them to us each and every time, and that means bringing us sadness and disappointment – and sometimes admonishment – where appropriate. Forbes has brought her whole self to this project, and in order to appreciate it we have to bring our whole selves too. The rewards for that are plentiful, though: the light and the dark of this album, and Forbes’s willingness to explore it all, is part of what makes it so interesting.
Bonedigger was produced by Shane Nicholson, of whom Forbes has said, ‘I’ve been around but I never had confidence in my music at all and Shane turned
that around for me and gave me belief … He understood the songs
so well and his musical genius is incredible. He could hear things in the song that I
couldn’t even hear.’ One of Nicholson’s great talents as a producer is in identifying what is great about the individual he is working with and bringing that out – in the case of Forbes, it is letting her not just be herself but encouraging her to be that completely. No editing of story or emotion to suit a notion of what a song should sound like. The result is an album that is a portrait of an artist in detail, rather than broad strokes. It’s a wonderful piece of work.
Buy direct from the artist: http://www.allisonforbesmusic.com/music.html