This artist's most widely heard performance consists of background vocals on bluegrass and country artist Ricky Skaggs' well-received 1997 album entitled Life is a Journey. Though Homer Forbes has been singing with his family since a child, his main musical instrument is that Appalachian weapon of mass destruction, the banjo. He is a member of the Forbes Family, one of a new wave of family bands that emerged in this genre in the '80s, blending their genetically smooth harmonies with the voices of popular performers such as Skaggs or Alison Krauss. The Forbes Family has been playing together as a professional band for 20 years, and besides Homer Forbes features lead vocalist Lisa Forbes Roberts, vocalist and bassist Lori Forbes Slate and Jay Forbes covering vocals, guitar and mandolin. The quartet was heavily exposed to music at home, with both their father and grandfather playing guitar and singing.
Oldest child Homer Forbes set the standards for things to come by holding forth vocally in church at the age of four. The family band was offically started in 1977, and following five years of gigs in the neighborhood of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the family decided North Carolina might be a more friendly environment for the type of music they were doing. The location may have been crucial, but it is doubtful Rebel records would have released four albums in four years by the combo simply because of the band's zip code. The 1988 Farewell was sending a message that some kind of extended hiatus was in the offing, but this was not something any of the Forbes clan stuck to for very long. All four had superior abilities as harmony singers, and it wasn't long before these skills were in demand on recording ventures such as the Ron Block album Faraway Land. The CD-box set Rebel Records: 35 Years of the Best of Bluegrass features some excellent examples of the group's '80s recordings. ~ Eugene Chadbourne, Rovi