Steve Forbert’s latest album, Compromised, was released November 6, 2015, and from the comparative essay of the disc’s title song, “Compromised” (complete with catchy chorus and signature harmonica solo), to the exasperated advice for “everyman” on the album closer, “Whatever, Man,” Steve Forbert leaves no stone unturned in his exploration of life, love, turmoil and survival.
After years with local bands, Steve Forbert left his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi in his early 20s and headed for the Big Apple in search of recording deals and larger audiences. He started out playing for change at Grand Central Station and hitting every open mic night he could before eventually moving into the club scene at infamous spots like New York City’s CBGB’s. At a time when rootsy rock was fading in favor of punk-edged bands such as the Ramones, Talking Heads, and Blondie, Forbert’s folk-pop “Romeo’s Tune” hit #11 on the charts and brought him into the international spotlight. Critics and the public embraced his melodic and lyrical styles, a more traditional sound among the post-disco punk and rock of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Always following his own instincts, 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.”