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Fortch released his first CD of original music in the summer of 2009. Fortch – What’s THAT Mean? is a six song album that rocks hard but also includes two heartfelt acoustic ballads. The CD received positive reviews and several tracks were played on local radio.
The follow up CD was released in August, 2011. A year in the making, Don’t Quit On Me contains 14 songs, including 13 new originals. Recorded entirely at The Cape Fear Studio, the combination of great writing, a world class band of musicians, and the talents of JK Loftin as engineer and producer make this CD worth the wait. The CD is upbeat, rocking, and contains lyrics that tell stories but also address universal themes we all face.
Fortch grew up in the upper Ohio Valley. Often called the forgotten part of Ohio, it was a blue collar area of steel mills, coal mines, and people with strong work ethics and family values. He started singing, playing guitar, and performing while still in high school. 7 days after graduation, he went to work for the same company his father, grandfather, and many of his friends and neighbors worked for – the steel mill up the river. Fortch played in a series of bands on the weekends while working full time in the mill.
Fortch’s hometown is part of what is now referred to as the “Rust Belt”. He watched the people of the area, his father and those same friends and neighbors, suffer as the formerly dominant industrial region became noted for the abandonment of factories, unemployment, out-migration, and overall decline.
Fortch’s life changed when he met his future wife, Mary. He put the guitar away, resigned from the mill (he was always laid-off, anyway), moved away from the Ohio Valley, and went to college. Fortch eventually earned a B.A. in Mathematics, taught high school in Southern California, and he and Mary raised three sons. Not wanting to raise children in California, they moved back to Ohio where Fortch taught GED Math to inmates in the state prison system, coached his boys in baseball, football, and basketball, and just enjoyed everyday life as a husband and father. With high unemployment, the mills and mines mostly gone, and not much of a future there for their young family, Fortch and Mary decided it was time to leave again.
The move to Wilmington, NC was a chance at a fresh start, more opportunities for their boys, and the beginning of Fortch’s return to music. After a couple of failed band attempts, Fortch began a solo career in 2006. Performing up and down the east coast, in Ohio, and in Georgia (Augusta during Masters Week is always a blast!), Fortch became known as one of the most likable, hardest working, and most professional musicians in southeastern North Carolina.
Fortch is an observational writer – he looks at situations and then internalizes what he sees, resulting in a variety of diverse and interesting songs. Don’t Quit On Me adds to a catalogue which includes fictional stories, semi-autobiographical situations, and hard looks at relevant issues people experience in their lives and the emotions that go with those issues. Life experience and keen observation will provide the ingredients for future compositions as well.
In the words of one critic, “Don’t Quit On Me covers a lot of stylistic territory from power rock anthems to quiet waltz vignettes to bluegrass influenced acoustic numbers to bombastic hard rock wailers, and a bit of Louisiana influenced dance material for good measure. But it all stays strongly together as a musical statement that shows Fortch’s depth and breadth as a writer and impassioned performer. It’s a wonderful musical presentation by someone in full control of their creative abilities.”