Forte is Chicago's Premiere Blues-Rock band, featuring the award-winning guitar stylings of Chris Forte.


Blues, rock and funk collide to create the unique sound of Chicago based quartet Forte. High energy rhythms, boundless guitar experimentation and charismatic stage presence define this powerful genre-busting band.

Forte’s tight grooves feature Chris Forte on guitar and vocals, Nate Bellon on bass and vocals, Rob Davis on drums and vocals and Michael Whalen on percussion and vocals. The close relationship between these players is noticeable from the start of any show and seems to be at the heart of their ability to deliver creative material that captures the audiences’ attention. The original material is supported by renditions of classic material from musicians who have influenced Forte, including; Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Credence Clearwater Revival, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder and many more.

Though Forte has been performing for more than 3 years, the collective experience of this group runs much deeper. As longtime members of Sam Cockrell and The Groove, Chris and Rob toured the U.S. playing high profile gigs at the Chicago Blues Fest, Taste of Blue Ridge Festival, W.C. Handy Awards, Indiana State Fair, House of Blues and WGN TV and opening for wide-ranging acts like Digital Underground, Lonnie Brooks, Duke Robillard, Roomful of Blues and Trippin Billies. During his stint with the band, Chris even won the coveted Albert King Award in 2000 for his virtuoso guitar moves, prompting Alligator recording artist L’il Ed to proclaim him a “guitar-playing mother...!” Nate has done extensive studio and live work for artists such as Josh Solomon and The Empty Pockets, Deuce, The Manhattan Project and The Tara Singer Jazz Quartet and is currently involved with the Chicago production of “The Buddy Holly Story”. Michael performed as drummer for several years with ex-Ziggy Marley member Melaku Retta in his African-fused reggae group Melaku and The African Elements. He has also provided his percussive stylings to Chicago acts such as Telstar, Salamander Red, Entrinzic, The Cook County Jazz Commission and The Accord.

Fans rave about Forte’s cool mix of high octane bluesy funk, eclectic original tunes and wild, ripping guitar riffs. Following a successful release of their debut CD, Soul Farmer, at The Cubby Bear and a string of rocking shows; including openers for Frank Black at The Double Door and The Radiators at the Black Orchid and Nevins, Forte is geared up to deliver their infectious new sound to audiences everywhere.


Soul Farmer, Forte's debut CD, features the song The Tomahawk

Set List

Forte plays their original material live, as well as covers from their many influences, such as: Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Crowes