Sean Beal - vocals/guitar
Barry Hensley -guitar/pedal steel/vocals
Dan Cochran - bass
Mark Boquist - drums
On their debut release, BESTED, Big Back Forty takes all the best elements of rock, pop and country and blend it into an album ich with imagery and emotion. With Sean Beal's plaintively distinct voice and Barry Hensley's gorgeous guitar lines, Big Back Forty's songs swerve from the rocking opening track, "Blood" to the haunting "Just What I Need" to the stark "Ninevah"." then it's all said an done BESTED proves that Big Back Forty has the talent to blow through the best checkpoints of rock and roll and punch it up a notch.
The sounds that make their way onto BESTED had their origins in a number of Columbus, Ohio straight ahead rock and roll bands. In 1995, while Beal was with Train Meets Truck and Hensley was with Sparks From The Wheel the two met and talked about starting a band where they could blend their rock influences with the bluegrass, country and gospel music of their childhoods. Along with a local bass player and drummer the quartet recorded the demos that go them signed to Polydor and eventually their major label debut, BESTED. After a van tour or two through the States, Big Back Forty regrouped and welcomed old friend, bass player Dan Cochran (who had played with Beal in three of his previous bands) into the fold. Through another hometown friend, the band found drummer Mark Boquist, who had been playing with the New York band Disciples of Agriculture. Two rehearsals later the newly revamped quartet hit the road.
While Beal's lyrics are strikingly literary and poignant, he admits they come only after a musical idea inspires him into a mood. And although he was raised the son of a preacher Beal says, "In songwriting I kon't try to preach anything. The best songs seem to have something that everybody can relate to. You can't achieve that by taking a particular stance on this or that... That's just posturing. A lot of the songs on the record portray a certain mood that I had when I was writing that song. It doesn't mean that I feel that way all the time. It's a feeling that inspired you to write, then you complete it, then it's over. My songs do not fit my attitude all the time."
As a brillant compliment to Beal's lyrical output, Hensley himself has relied on his musical tastes to find a core sound. "I listen to a pretty wide range of stuff and I'm sure it's not a conscious thing, but all that distills down to something that comes out when I play," he says. It also comes out when he writes, apparently, considering that his two contributions to BESTED include the feverish "Party Girl" and "Little Crucifier."
See also the Big Back Forty Homepage