Singer-songwriter Scott Forbes has had a long history with music, as most musicians do. From the age of 15, he was writing lyrics and working on refining his musical voice. After trying to make it with a band out of western New York, he relocated to Central Florida in 1999 and began attending open mics with just an acoustic guitar by his side. He quickly gained a local following for his relatable story-songs and musical familiarity, but because he was working a full-time job and raising a family, he was forced to step away from music for a bit.
After seven years away from his musical muse, he came back to his work in 2012. He spent the next couple of years finding that perfect balance between acoustic introspection and energized fretwork. It had been just him and a guitar for so long that he thought it might be good to bring in a few other people to help flesh out his sound. And in September 2014, he released an EP called “12” and continued to build on the momentum of that record.
Forbes moved to Chattanooga in early 2016 and began to absorb the Scenic City’s atmosphere, letting his existing songs be affected by the surrounding waters and mountains. Heard now, the tracks on “12” sound as though there was a sense of anticipation in their creation—as if Forbes subconsciously knew that Tennessee would become part of his life in the near future. His Americana leanings are expertly expressed through a combination of Southern folk rhythms and airy acoustic ramblings.
And though there’s some age to these songs, you never get a sense of the passing of time that occurs within their metered lines and country-influenced melodies. Forbes cuts to the heart of these ideas of love, heartache and the daily struggles to keep your head up; it can be an uphill battle sometimes, but through these stories, he makes the case that it is possible to push back against the darkness that threatens to envelop you. There is hope, one born from open highways, rolled-down windows and the beauty of the rushing countryside, but it’s a tentative conviction, carried away easily by the next strong breeze. “12” is about life and experiences, and as such, it doesn’t offer easy answers, just the reassurance that we’re alive and can make a difference in the short time we have.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.