Big Back Forty


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Tapping deep into the pulse of American's heartland, Columbus quartet Big Back Forty offered a compelling blend of traditional country and '70s guitar crunch on Bested. Though unwillingly tagged early on as members of the No Depression school, the group's sound leaned far more toward hard rock, as tracks like the dramatic disc opener "Blood" and "Monte Carlo Girl" crank up the rhythm guitars behind singer Sean Beal's commanding, Iggy-like baritone. When things quiet down, however, guitarist Barry Hensley shows he can also spin out tasteful twang licks with anyone; "Little Crucifer" and a handful of other, more introspective tunes provide him a welcome showcase. And the airtight rhythm section of brothers Steve and Pat McGann provides flawless support, no matter the musical style. Meanwhile, Beal's dark-hued lyrics make occasional interesting references to his fundamentalist upbringing and Midwestern roots without delving into autobiography, tying up the whole package handsomely. It proved to be the sole offering from Big Back Forty, though other bands have attempted the same musical formula since -- with markedly less success.

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