Back Forty is a staple of the Midwest live music scene. Over the last 5 years Back Forty has played just about every venue and major festival in Michigan and choice venues throughout the Midwest. The Band has also recorded and released two full length albums and is working on their third.
The Band is comprised of Dan Ripke on guitar, Andy Benes on mandolin and guitar, John Yax on drums, Colin Murphey on fiddle, and Jeff Friesen on bass. The band is also joined regularly by their three piece horn section and a slew of guest musicians. Stephanie Kadel-Taras of the Ann Arbor Observer wrote "These musicians are just plain good, as in record-contract good."
This eclectic group of musicians and their backgrounds is portrayed in the music. One live set may contain Funk, Bluegrass, Rock, Folk, Reggae, Irish, Jazz, Experimentation, Blues, and Swing elements. Back Forty breaks down the genre barriers and just plays what comes naturally.
Robert Costa of Grand Rapid's On the Town Magazine commented "It is hard to pigeonhole the sound of Back Forty because it uses the elements of traditional bluegrass or soul or Irish folk or rock or whatever you thought you knew about a genre, and it blows it up, redefines it, and puts it back together in a way you have never heard. The stage presence is powerful, the musicianship is a wonder to watch, and there is no doubt a lot of fun."