Steve Forbert is one of the few artists who can mesmerize a crowd with nothing but a distinctive voice, an acoustic guitar and his trusty harmonica slung around his neck. More than four decades have passed since Forbert first made his way to New York City from Meridian, Mississippi and his intimate verbal imagery, paired with a roots-rock musical approach, struck a chord with millions of people during the transitional period between ‘70s folk-rock and ‘80s New Wave.
Forbert’s debut album, ‘Alive On Arrival’, became one of 1978’s most acclaimed records. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild recently reflected that “now or then, you would be hard-pressed to find a debut effort that was simultaneously as fresh and accomplished,” comparing it to “a great first novel by a young author who somehow managed to split the difference between Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger.”
One track from that album, “Grand Central Station, March 18, 1977”, earned him a spot on the 2014 Village Voice list of The 60 Best Songs Ever Written About New York City, along with many musical heavyweights like Jim Croce, Tom Waits and Frank Sinatra.
Forbert has released 20 studio albums, including a Grammy-nominated tribute to Mississippi legend, Jimmie Rodgers. In 2017, An American Troubadour: The Songs of Steve Forbert was released, featuring renowned musicians like John Oates and Robert Earl Keen, performing his songs.
In 2018, Forbert published his memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock. “Like the earlier Bob Dylan and Patti Smith books, Forbert has a warm way of describing the pull of NYC and the ensuing challenges of getting traction, against the context of a small-town upbringing. He offers a sparkling observation about the pull of music as excellent as any I have seen,” says Entertainment Today.
On May 1, 2020 via Blue Rose Music, Steve released a cover record of 11 of his favorite folk-rock songs, entitled Early Morning Rain. “I recorded this album in an attempt to renew people’s appreciation for the fine craftsmanship these songs represent,” says Forbert, “and as an acknowledgement of how much good ‘ol songs like these have meant to me.”