Folk-rocker Steve Forbert will perform songs spanning a career of more than forty years at the JCC of Central New Jersey in Scotch Plains on Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8:00 p.m. Rocker Lisa Bouchelle, who frequently performs at venues all along the Jersey shore, will open the show.
Advance tickets are $27 and can be purchased at www.jccnj.org or by calling 908-889-8800, x253. The concert is part of the on-going Split Level Concert Series which highlights critically acclaimed singer-songwriters in a uniquely intimate setting.
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 the archetypal folkie, armed with just an acoustic guitar and sheaf of very personal songs. After busking on the street for change from passersby, 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.”
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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.
Now, those life-changing experiences have been chronicled by Forbert in his recently released autobiography Big City Cat: My Life In Folk Rock, co-written with Therese Boyd. The memoir offers a uniquely introspective view of a life and career during a period of cultural upheaval and the author’s emerging self-awareness. Sharing reflections and journals he kept at the time, Forbert weaves an absorbing narrative that fully addresses the trials, travails and triumphs that would eventually play out over the course of his prolific 40+ year career.
Simultaneous with the book’s release comes an evocative new Steve Forbert album entitled The Magic Tree. The LP offers a series of songs gleaned from previously recorded acoustic demos, augmented with new backing tracks. The collection rings with the verve and vitality that Forbert’s fans have always come to expect. It takes on special meaning in light of a recent health scare that sidelined him for several months while he recovered. Consistently upbeat and optimistic, the album’s songs convey a firm sense that age ought not diminish a lust for living.
The JCC of Central New Jersey is located at 1391 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains. The JCC of Central New Jersey is a constituent agency of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ, United Way of Greater Union County and the Westfield United Fund. Financial assistance is available for membership and various programs.