Justin Fobes
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Justin Fobes


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"Oasis Bar Show Review"

Justin Fobes Band

By Macdaniel Wyatt
Skyscraper Magazine Fall 2002

Playing viscerally loud, but tempered by a subtle songwriter’s voice, the Justin Fobes Band fills the early slot (8.30 - 10.30 PM) at the Oasis every Tuesday.

Taking the stage as though both haphazardly interested and seemingly focused, the trio trickles out their original compositions one by one. Though the audience is scarce, the music is vibrant and the applause genuine. As more patrons begin to fill the bar, the atmosphere becomes more lively, the band more exciting, and the music becomes looser.

Unlike most bar bands in the local area, Fobes shines on originals, shying away from covers. Most of their sets feature only a couple of breaks from Fobes-composed songs. While most beer drinking patrons in the Birmingham area shun such acts, the Fobes band manages to wrangle in its fan-base completely through the strong songwriting of its leader. The usual death rattle for most bands that propose an "originals only" policy is not heard here, as this trio seems to be making a strong case for its future.

Justin Fobes (formerly of Noise Around Us), the band’s namesake and de facto leader hurls his players into the first set. He’s back by bassist Brandon Peeples (of B and the Buzz) and drummer Chris Fryer (of Otiel and the Peacemakers) who by the third song in the set, “One to Blame”, have locked into a very funky strain of faint Hendrix, washed over by Fobes searing lead lines and ethereal melodies. Aside from the self-evident songwriting prowess, the pure ambience of the band is what is so impressive to listeners.

A native of Mobile, AL, Fobes’ song selection offers the gentle strain of his past: Jimmy Buffet's “Biloxi” grants careful examination of Gulf of Mexico coastal culture. His traditional second set opener, a cascading version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” interpolates his own “Prince of Tides”, and an ocean of reverb fills the room. The songs in both sets flow seamlessly into one another and the trio presents a definitive style.

The current singer-songwriter movement in popular music appears to be the stomping ground of this band. Echoes of Jeff Buckley’s ambience, Rufus Wainwright’s sincerity, and Peter Yorn’s powerful delivery seep unanimously through their show. The seemingly literal “Mary Go Round” which as Justin puts it “is a song about a girl named Mary who got around,” offers his most tangible moment in the set.

Despite the lack of crowd, the band persist without complaint, thanking the devotees for their attendance, and then launches into the ambient groove of “Last Chance in the City Tonight.”

The songs range from the philosophical musings of “Persona Non Grata” to the start-stop rock of “Stop, Drop, and Roll” all without skipping a beat or falling out of style. The heart of this band is in its hard-work mentality, its no-apology delivery, and its songwriting skill that has established the reason that the guys appear every week at the Oasis.

-Macdaniel Wyatt
- Macdaniel Wyatt

"Incredible Positive Feeling"

"Justin gives the crowd an incredible positive feeling when he plays."

"...he just makes you feel good!"

-Shannon Harley, Liquid Lounge - Shannon Harley

"Justin Fobes plays Olde Auburn Ale House"

Justin Fobes plays Olde Auburn Ale House

Megan Lynch
Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Olde Auburn Ale House is known for its tasty micro brews and true bar feel, but what about its music?

Tucked away in a crevice behind Cheeburger Cheeburger, Olde Auburn Ale House sits quietly, serving as home for many outstanding, yet unknown musicians.

Justin Fobes was the music on tap Wednesday night, Feb. 23.

While he performed for the patrons and staff, he recorded the live session.

Originally from Mobile, Fobes, 30, has been playing the bar scene for 19 years. He has also had the privilege of opening up shows for big name acts such as Live, The Counting Crows and Don Henley.

However, throughout the last 13 years, Fobes has made the drive many times to the beautiful plains to showcase a piece of what he would call heaven.

As Fobes stood on the small stage inside the walls of the local pub singing both original and cover pieces, his passion for music showed through.

His good looks and exceptional vocals, a cross between Keller Williams and John Mayer, had each girl looking on with googly eyes. Yet, his ability on the guitar was so impressive that even the guys looked on with envy.

As he performed a one-man act, he began looping his music making it sound as if you were right in the middle of a large band. His music blends the backgrounds of folk, rock, blues and pop, creating a very unique sound.

Music has become second nature for Fobes. He began playing at the early age of 10. Throughout his career, his play list has grown to an impressive size.

"I know 200 cover songs, but I prefer to play my own songs," Fobes said.

But music for him has a deep and loving history.

"My grandmother died of lung cancer and she spent her pain medication money to buy me a guitar. When she died I made a vow that I would play that guitar."

Fobes strummed the night away on that very guitar.

As a Sigma Chi at Springhill College, Fobes began publicly playing for fraternities. Now Fobes is taking his passion up a notch.

"I am selling my house and buying a Winnebago so I can travel and play all around," Fobes said. "Playing music is who I am and what I do. I never want to have another job for the rest of my life." - www.TheCornerNews.com

"The Metropolitan Groove"

"Here at the Met Groove we are really fortunate to have awesome talent like the JFB. We feel like people enjoy our live music concept along with our positive vibes, and the JFB is great for both!", says Matt Allen, Owner of the Metropolitan Groove Martini Bar in Mobile, AL. - The Metropolitan Groove


"The Justin Fobes Band is a Diamond in a market known for mediocre talent. His songwriting is great, his band is comprised of amazing players and they carry themselves with class and a professionalism not seen around here. When I have free time I personally seek out the Justin Fobes Band for the quality entertainment I'm seeking."

-A.J. Niland, CEO Huka Entertainment - Huka Entertainment

"Great Bowl of Gumbo"

The Justin Fobes Band, mixture of Blues, Jazz, and Rock is like a great bowl of Gumbo mixed just right. A lot of flavor with just the right amount of spice!

-Bo Boshart, Mgr., Seven Bar and Nightclub - Seven

"An intense blend of folk and funk"

Justin has found the perfect backing band to support his highly technical and emotional style of playing. The four piece shells out an intense blend of folk and funk, with lyrical content that forces the listener to think as well as feel this music.

-Ryan Balthrop, Lead Singer, Loose Cannons, Hatch, Slow Moses, The Burning Sensations - Loose Cannons

"Justin Fobes: Thick Calluses, Good Chops"

The first time I see sing`er-guitarist Justin Fobes, he’s playing at the Ball’s (sic) Out Sports Bar in Santa Rosa Beach, one of the last places I expect to hear live music. I assume people come here to watch a ballgame, but you know what they say about “assume.” My first impression of Fobes is that of a first-rate acoustic performer—one look at his well-worn guitar confirms it. But what I really marvel at is the level of intensity he displays even when he’s playing for a ridiculously small audience consisting of myself, the bar owners, and a guy who stopped in for a beer after work. The crowd would come later.

Fobes arrived from Birmingham last November to join the Hog’s Breath Band. After six months, they had an amicable parting. “I discovered I could get more work outside of it,” Fobes says. “It’s been good for everybody. We’re still friendly.” Now Fobes plays at least five nights a week. “I’ve got really thick calluses,” he says proudly.

He began playing for a living at 22 and took a few years off to work in a guitar store. He hasn’t had a day job since 2001. He stays busy with lots of solo gigs and keeps the Justin Fobes Band on call—a collective of “at this point, 22 drummers, five bass players, four other guitar players, a pair of female vocalists…whoever I can get.” Fobes is also part of a new band with Black Eyed Blonde’s Dan Collins—together, they host the Monday night jam at Fudpucker’s Art Bar. And while we’re on the subject of jamming, Fobes also sits in with Cadillac Willy on occasion.

Fobes’s set list offers the usual favorites—crowd-pleasing beach anthems, Grateful Dead and other ‘60s standards—along with plenty of wild card choices. “I look at the crowd and try to imagine what they want,” Fobes says. “I know hundreds of songs. I started playing guitar so I could write songs. I had bands that did original songs, but around here people don’t care that much about stuff they haven’t heard. I’m okay with that—it helps me keep my chops up.” He does a moody and introspective version of Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower—his vocal range is amazing without really calling attention to it.

At Ball’s Out Fobes plays an original, Stop, Drop and Roll. When I was a kid that was a catch phrase from a Dick Van Dyke fire-safety public service commercial. In Fobes’s hands, it’s a sex-drenched romp that finds room for some good Santana-flavored guitar. At least that’s the comparison the guy at the bar throws out. To me, it could almost be a tribute to Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. When I get around to asking about his guitar style, Fobes informs he that he “wanted to be Bill Frissell when he grew up.” He should hook up with Lyndsey Battle, another huge fan of the jazz guitarist, if he can fit one more side project into his schedule.

Monday I catch Fobes at Fudpucker’s. He’s singing and playing electric guitar with Collins on bass and Duane Mays, a first-rate drummer. The band doesn’t have a name yet, and the music ranges from spacey fusion to flat-out bluesy. With his skills in high demand, it’s hard to say where Fobes will turn up next. You can keep tabs on this restless musician at www.justinfobes.com.
- Chris Manson June 1, 2006 Issue The Beachcomber Newspaper

"Justin Fobes Band"

Justin Fobes Band

Date: Wednesday, July 11 at 9 p.m.

Venue: Metropolitan Groove Martini Bar, 5821 Old Shell Rd., 344-9914

Tickets: FREE

The WeMo martini bar Metropolitan Groove has become quite the venue for local musicians. Justin Fobes returns to Met Groove with his own brand of local rock for the public.

Fobes has been working on his craft from an early age. He picked up the guitar at the age of 10, and it wasn’t long until he began composing original music.

His sound allowed him to open for such acts as Don Henley, Live and Counting Crows.

Fobes classifies his music as a mix between "folk, rock, blues and pop." In its locomotive beats and steady strums, he shows excellent vocal control with his song "4 Leaf Clover."

Fobes can also slow it down as seen in "The Prince of Tides Etude" and should be a perfect soundtrack for the Met Groove martini scene.

- The Lagniappe


Noise Around Us 2001
Sketches Of Pain 2002
Crazy In Love EP 2004
The Justin Fobes Band 2007



Corey Johnson -- Bass, Vocals

Cory Johnson was born in Wurzburg, Germany. The influences on his musical life are such greats as; Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Steve Harris and Ray Brown. Corey has played with the likes of Marcel Evans - lead singer of "The Original Drifters", Jabo Starks - Drummer for James Brown and B.B. King. He is currently playing with Quintessence, Urban Jazz Quartet, Los Gatos, and Sean Worrell and Friends. He has also opened for Wayman Tisdale, Taylor Dane, Kem Band and Rochelle Farrell, and even Chaka Khan. He has a B.A. Degree in Computer Network Technology.

Roland Cobbs -- Alto, Tenor, and Soprano Sax, Wind Controller, Vocals

Roland Cobbs, professionally known as Hot Sax, began his playing career at the age of 13, his instrument of choice was and still is the Saxaphone. After graduating from high school, Roland joined the United States Army Band where he was influenced by the Big Band Sound and Be Bop. After being noticed by his peers as a learned Musician, Roland began mastering the Saxaphone. Paying special attention to the sax masters, Roland began to "per-fect" his own style, incorporating the many differing styles of greats such as, Grover Washington, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Wilton Felton, and Stanley Turntine. From thence comes the sound profoundly known as Hot Sax.
After leaving the United States Army, Roland moved to Dallas, Texas and began working at a 50-60 club with a band called Happy Days backing up artists from the fifties and sixties eras including the Platters, The Dixie Cups, Frankie Ford, Lenny Welch, The Crickets, and Brian Hyland. In 1999 Roland moved back to Mobile, and steady gigged the Mississippi Gulf Coast Casinos, all the while honing his craft. Television came calling and Roland was asked to provide music for The Creative Cook, a weekly television show featuring two talented people, a gourmet chef and an accomplished and creative musician, Roland Cobbs --"Hot Sax".

Steven Jacobs -- Drums, Vocals

Having taken up the drums in eighth grade, Steven was self taught through his high school and early college years playing in local rock, r&b, and funk bands. After marrying, his interests gravitated to jazz and the music of New Orleans where his wife’s family resided. He began working toward a music degree at the University of South Alabama and studied privately with Harrell Bosarge in Mississippi and Johnny Vidacovich in New Orleans. Steven has been a clinician with the Jim Widner Big Band Jazz Camps and has continued to study and work as a free lance drummer based in Mobile, Al. He quotes his musical influences as including Astral Project, The Meters (both Original and Funky), and anything on which Steve Gadd has played.

Justin Fobes -- Songwriting, Guitar, Vocals

If you are looking for someone with the raw talent, energy, and charisma to command even the toughest crowd, then you are looking for Justin Fobes. Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, Justin has been playing guitar since he was 10 years old. While other kids were learning the popular songs of the day, Justin was already crafting his own. By the age of 15, he had written over 30 songs, and by 18, he was playing at restaurants and events all along the Gulf Coast. After seven years of touring the southeastern United States opening for such acts as the Counting Crows, Live, and Don Henley, performing up to 307 shows a year! Justin Fobes now resides in Mobile, AL playing several nights a week, at the many attractions there. He's already played 259 shows in 2008 as of this writing with a goal of 370. While he's not busy with his duties as a Rockstar, Justin usually divides his time working on his recording projects and quality family time. To put a label on his music would be unfair. He is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who blends folk with rock and blues with pop. To date, Justin has released 4 albums and is currently working on a 5th project, due to be released in 2008. He has written, or co-written, over a hundred songs. His impressive guitar playing and powerful vocals merge to create a truly unique sound that McDaniel Wyatt of Skyscraper Magazine said "[has] echoes of Jeff Buckley's ambience, Rufus Wainwright's sincerity, and Peter Yorn's powerful delivery". Offering uniquely crafted songs that blend the sounds of folk, rock, blues and pop, Justin Fobes is truly an original.

The Justin Fobes Band has and will always be known for it's experienced professionalism and top shelf talent!