Call this music “Americana,” if you have to put a label on it. The opener, “Red Dirt,” establishes straight away the muscular Midwestern quality that reﬂects Guy Forsythe’s musical coming of age in Kansas City, a locus for many musical styles.
Blues, jazz, R&B, and rock and roll – Forsythe puts them all to good use. “Can’t Stop Dancing” sounds like a three-way collaboration between Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and George Clinton, but with a horn intro straight out of 1950s Miles Davis.
Then there is “Econoline,” an ode to the singer’s faithful old van and the glory days and good times that were had in, around, and because of it. The song jumps right out at you, starting with two biting electric guitar notes and a sharply-shouted “Ha!” It’s carried by Forsythe’s expert electric slide playing and some compelling big-footed drumming from Nina Sing.
Seemingly out of nowhere comes “Sink ’Em Low (The Holler),” an a cappella ﬁeld holler. But since Forsythe doesn’t often shape his songs in traditional form, the tune is a perfect ﬁt for this eclectic mix.
Despite his being such a strong guitar player who could certainly indulge himself in an extended solo or three, most of his best guitar moments come in accents and intros. “Thank You For My Hands” is proof of that, and the song’s title is a phrase that a guy who plays like Forsythe must utter several times a day.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’13 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.