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“LONG RIDE HOME”
©2004 Independently Released
Review by Lucky Boyd
If you’ve read a significant number of the hundreds of reviews I’ve written on this site, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of diversity on debut albums. It usually prevents an artist from establishing a presence with any particular fan base, and garners only those fans with diverse tastes. You’ll also know that I don’t particularly care for artists who choose music to over-promote a Christian message. I’d rather an artist use Christianity to make a musical statement than the other way around. Then along comes Debbie Forrest and breaks all the rules. While her debut album crosses genre lines from folk to jazz, from pop to country, Forrest has an underlying theme to the album. For a change, she’s not Bible-thumping, but when you’re finished with the album, you’re certain of her spirituality. Now that’s how it should be done. Debbie Forrest is a musician guided by her relationship with God, wearing her religion like the perfect accessory to a killer outfit rather than crowning herself with it like a strange hat. The songs are timeless and could be promoted as secular if you didn’t want to acknowledge the spiritual mood, but you won’t be able to deny her dedication. The most intimate cut is “You Move Me,” delivered with only a vocal and a single electric guitar, it is passionate and moving, featuring Forrest’s sultry voice. Debbie’s quasi-testimonial is “Sinner’s Song” and is nothing short of an every-girl story with a powerful message that can hit too close to home for some. The exalting cut is “Amen,” co-written with Laurianne Cates. This anthem is the flagship of the album as Forrest shows she can write and sing with the best in the business. When you listen to this song, imagine yourself at a Debbie Forrest concert in an outdoor stadium that seats 55,000 and you’ll understand why it was written and how it should truly be performed. Forrest, as of this writing is overdue for a follow-up album, but when it arrives it will be spectacular if the debut offering is any indication. For those who enjoy an uplifting album with a message that’s not ‘in-your-face’ this is your next purchase.
Stats: Ten cuts, five written by Forrest, five co-writes; co-writes: Laurianne Cates, Peter Bowman, Ian Fitchuk; Musicians: Forrest, Fitchuk, Paul Moak, Will Sayles, Chris Wygel, Donnie Mortimer, Calvin Turner, Josh Moore, Mark Polak, Cates, Tawny Cox, Hunter Kelley, Rusty Ralston; Produced byIan Fitchuk and Justin Louks; 4-6 full color panel, 4-2 j-card, 2-color disc, replicated; liner notes; running time: 45:56
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