1-18-2020 More than four decades have passed since Steve Forbert made his way to New York City from his Meridian, Mississippi birthplace in quest of a career in music. It was the most unlikely time and place for a folk singer to leap into the fray in a burgeoning scene where new wave and punk were emerging while he took the stage as a the archetypal folkie, armed with just an acoustic guitar and sheaf of very personal songs.
After busking on the street for change from passers by, he rose to sharing bills at CBGB’s with the likes of Talking Heads, The Shirts and John Cale as well as headlining more traditional venues such as The Bitter End and Kenny’s Castaways. Against staggering odds, he found blazing success early on with a string of critically acclaimed and commercially accepted albums including Alive on Arrival (1978), Jackrabbit Slim (1979), and Little Stevie Orbit (1980) and a most unlikely smash hit single, “Romeo’s Tune.”
His career had its share of triumphs as well as stumbles and disappointments as did his private life. Through it all, over the course of a marriage, divorce, raising three children, writing and recording 18 studio albums and fronting an ever changing line-up of supporting musicians, he persevered and stayed true to his roots and the folk ethos. Forbert says, “I’ve never been interested in changing what I do to fit popular style and needs.” And that’s the motto he has lived by since the release of his debut album, "Alive on Arrival," in 1978. Rolling Stone contributing editor David Wild recently wrote that “Now or then, you would have been hard-pressed to find a debut effort that was simultaneously as fresh and accomplished as Alive on Arrival. It was like a great novel by a young author who somehow managed to split the difference between Mark Twain and J. D. Salinger.”
And now armed with his new memoir, "Big City Cat: My Life In Folk Rock" and a new album, "The Magic Tree" Steve Forbert shows no sign of slowing down for anyone.