The Morton Report: Bentley's Bandstand: September 2018

Steve Forbert, The Magic Tree and Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock, with Therese Boyd. No one really sings like Steve Forbert. There is a unique wry warmth in his voice and songs like "Romeo's Tune" and "Going Down to Laurel" that almost got him tagged as the "New Dylan," but that couldn't have been much farther from the truth, maybe because Forbert is truly a son of Mississippi (Meridian, also birthplace of the Singing Brakeman Jimmie Rodgers), and has always been a real romantic at heart. When he hit New York in the second half of the '70s, it felt like the whole world was open to him.

His book Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock is an enormously entertaining and endlessly touching memoir of where he started and where he is now. Friends and strangers will likely enjoy it equally. Forbert's new album, The Magic Tree is one of his finest, though it includes vocals from older recordings modernized with new musical tracks, not that anyone could ever tell it. These are songs of the highest order, written by a man who's been through the kind of challenges that cripple most. It is a survivor and thriver's story, someone who hit several rough patches in life and always dug in to come back with his head held high. Together the book and album turn the sunshine on a man who is one of the best friends American music ever had. Today, over 40 years after he moved to Greenwich Village to chase a dream, it sounds like "Little Stevie" Forbert found it and so much more. Little no more.

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