Anointed "the new Dylan" upon his recording debut, folk-rock singer/songwriter Steve Forbert was born in Meridian, Mississippi in 1954. After learning guitar at age 11, he spent his high-school years playing in a variety of local bands before quitting his job as a truck driver and moving to New York City at the age of 21. There, he performed for spare change in Grand Central Station before working his way up to the Manhattan club circuit. After signing to Nemperor, Forbert debuted in 1978 with Alive on Arrival, which earned critical acclaim for its taut, poetic lyrics. The follow-up, 1979's Jackrabbit Slim, was his most successful outing, reaching the Top 20 on the strength of the hit single "Romeo's Tune" (allegedly inspired by the late Supreme Florence Ballard). However, both 1980's Little Stevie Orbit and a self-titled 1982 effort fared poorly, and Forbert was dropped by his label.
He spent much of the decade in Nashville, where he continued honing his songwriting skills and performed regularly throughout the South. In 1988, he signed to Geffen, where the E Street Band's Garry Tallent produced his comeback album, Streets of This Town. Pete Anderson took over the production reins for 1992's The American in Me, but Forbert's continued lack of chart success prompted the label to cut him loose. A deal with the Warner Bros.-affiliated Giant label resulted in two more studio albums, 1995's Mission of the Crossroad Palms and 1996's Rocking Horse Head, but in 1998 Forbert moved into independent territory for his next album, the rollicking live set Here's Your Pizza. Forbert signed with Koch Records for his next studio disc, 2000's Evergreen Boy, where he also released Any Old Time (a tribute to country music legend Jimmie Rodgers) in 2002 and Just Like There's Nothin' to It (a collection of new songs) in 2004.
During this period, Forbert also released two compilations of rare and unreleased material, Young, Guitar Days and More Young, Guitar Days, as well as several live recordings. On Stage at World Cafe Live appeared in 2007 from Decca Vision as well as a new studio set, Strange Names and New Sensations, from 429 Records that same year. The Place and the Time arrived in 2009. The Chris Goldsmith-produced Over with You, a sparse song cycle that showed Forbert's fine songwriting skills, appeared in 2012. Compromised, a thoughtful and easygoing set including contributions from Joey Spampinato of NRBQ, songwriter and trumpeter Kami Lyle, and veteran producer John Simon, arrived in 2015, while 2017 saw the release of Flying at Night, his 17th studio long-player. ~ Jason Ankeny