The singer/guitarist will showcase his latest long-player, Moving Through America, when he headlines a gig at The Flowerpot, Derby, on June 25.
Years before Americana music earned its own category at the Grammy Awards, Steve helped pioneer the genre’s mix of folk, roots-rock, and richly
Recalling the early part of his career, he said: “I was a fan of the Byrds and the Lovin’ Spoonful but I also loved the singer/songwriters from that era. Country music, too. Gram Parsons was a real touchstone for me, and there wasn’t a name yet that could encompass all those sounds. I wanted to keep that sound alive with my own music, and I didn’t care that this was the late 1970s in New York City. I didn’t care how popular the Talking Heads or Blondie got, because I wasn’t trying to do what they did. I just kept doing what I did.”His unwavering work ethic soon paid off. Romeo’s Tune, a track from Steve’s 1979 breakthrough album, Jackrabbit Slim, became a hit, climbing to number 11 in the U.S. and pushing its accompanying album to gold status. When New Wave bands began to dominate the FM airwaves several years later, Forbert stuck to his guns, continuing to fly the flag for organic roots music that proudly blurred the lines between genres.
In the 40-plus years Steve has navigated the twists and turns of an acclaimed career that has taken him from gold records to Grammy nominations, from New York City’s CBGB to Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe.Releasing 20 albums in twice as many years, he has remained prolific well into the 21st century and still writes music that’s spry and steadfast.Steve spends the bulk of each year onstage, on the road and in the writing room. “I’m not trying to refine or reimagine what I do,” he said. “This is a continuation. I’m telling new stories, but my focus has always been the same. It’s always been about the songs.”
The songs take centre stage in this year’s album in which Steve offers glimpses into the everyday lives of his characters: a man preparing to take his girlfriend out for fried oysters, a former drug dealer celebrating his freedom after incarceration, a motorist on a road-trip steadily making his way across the midwest. Steve inhabits each character, turning their storylines into first-person narratives that blur the lines between subject and scribe.
These are songs for the head, the heart, and the heartland, from the acoustic funky-tonk of Please Don’t Eat the Daisies to the Tom Petty-worthy Say Hello to Gainesville. Moving Through America is an album that celebrates the art found in the everyday, created by a legacy songwriter with plenty of fuel left in the tank.
Tickets to see Steve at The Flowerpot cost £22 (including booking fee) and are available to buy online at www.gigantic.com