STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
An American treasure who has touched the lives of generations of fans around the globe, singer songwriter Steve Forbert is an enduring artist.
“Flying At Night” (2016), Forbert’s latest U.K. album release, available via his website, features a treasure trove of unreleased material from the creative vault of this veteran of the American folk pop rock circuit.
“I just completed a month overseas in Europe and the U.K. Even though I released a record called “Compromised” a year ago, we needed something to promote the U.K. tour, which was about ten dates,” says Forbert, while on tour in New Jersey. “My booking agent in England asked me if I could possibly come up with a release to precede this year’s Fall UK tour. I completed nine unfinished songs that span several decades.”
I had been doing these recordings with Anthony Crawford. So, we made a record for the U.K. market so to speak. Anthony Crawford and I have worked together off and on since he guested on my album “The American In Me” (Geffen Records, 1992),” says Forbert. “As producer of “Flying at Night,” he ran free with the tunes, adding whatever he wanted from his home studio toy box—lead guitar, bass, drums, fiddle and mandolin. It happens to be excellent. So, who knows what will happen with it?”Forbert rose to international prominence with the release of his “Jack Rabbit Slim” (1979) album, featuring the hit single and his signature song “Romeo’s Tune.” Reaching number 11 on Billboard’s U.S. Hot 100 Chart, the album garnered Forbert well-deserved notoriety and a strong cult following that remains to this day.
“I don’t get tired of playing “Romeo’s Tune,” says Forbert. “It’s really helped a lot. It’s a calling card. People say, ‘Oh, I remember him. I like that song. Let’s go hear it.’ The rest is up to me. I’ve got to entertain them and keep them interested for an hour and a half, which is something I love attempting. For me, playing folk rock has made all the difference. Being a singer songwriter and a folk artist, I’m able to write songs regardless of the market and present them to my audience. I’m able to develop the material relevant to getting older. The crowd I’m attracting is an audience that I’m very pleased with.”
“I try to keep the level of quality the best I can (in terms of) the songs themselves,” adds Forbert. “I don’t think I’m better, but I don’t think I’ve let my standards down. The fact is that the shows are spontaneous and I can react to the audience. It’s really about the world and the time I’m a part of. What defines me is a certain sense of sensibility. It’s in the songs. I consider myself a storyteller.”
With dozens of studio and live albums to his credit and a loyal audience that continues to support his art, Forbert is grateful for the following that affords him the opportunity to continue to pursue his passion.
“Let’s be perfectly honest,” says Forbert. “It’s not a large audience. It’s a cult crowd. It’s the kind of audience that would go out to listen to lengthy songs with a lot of words and even listen to a guy with just an acoustic guitar. That’s not a large number of the populous. Keeping it in perspective, it is not Madison Square Garden, but I love what I do and I think those people that come out for it get that feeling too. So it produces, I like to think, some positive result out there in the world. The energy is good, and I love what I’m doing.”
“I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far,” adds Forbert. “Making and crafting records is a real challenge. I’m able to control the writing of the song and singing it. I haven’t always made the best records of the songs I’ve written. That bothers me a little sometimes. But I’m still at it. It’s that sensibility. My music seems to be very therapeutic to people on a regular basis and I take great joy from that. I think my biggest problem is the fact that I’m not getting any younger. I just want to continue doing it and I want the performance to be good. I may get good at this yet (laughs).”
Steve Forbert will perform at the Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, PA 19348, Friday Dec. 2, 2016 at 8 P.M. For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org.
To stay up to date with Steve Forbert, visit www.steveforbert.com.