Steve, a singer/songwriter for nearly half a century, performs at 7:00 tonight at TheatreNow at 10th & Dock Streets. Tickets are available online for much of the day; an hour or two before the show, tickets will only be available at the door.
When I heard that singer/ songwriter Steve Forbert was making a stop in Wilmington to perform, the first thing I thought of was this:
Meet me in the middle of the day, let me hear you say everything's okay bring me southern kisses from your room...
It's "Romeo's Tune," a huge hit from 1980 by Steve Forbert. This song has had life in one way or another for almost 40 years. It's been covered by numerous musicians and used by filmmakers. Steve Forbert performs tonight at Theatre Now. I spoke with him via telephone about music and songwriting and about his always interesting lyrics.
Steve: You know, no one knows where music comes from, but anybody can write a song, anybody can write a song. If you turned on the radio today, you may be really inclined to agree, but....I'm sorry I had to say that. Well, I'm just not fond on the bar out there as far as where the bar is at right now for songwriting. For me, the lyrics are sort of the impetus. Honestly, I just wrote a song recently about going out with my girlfriend and eating fried oysters. So where does the music come from? When they get it usually hopefully appropriate for, for the words
Forbert's song "Romeo's Tune" gets all the attention, but he's written so many other beautiful songs. I asked him what songs hold a special place in his heart.
Steve: There's one called "It Sure Was Better Back Then." It's a rock & roll song, it's kind of in the Chuck Berry tradition, that would also mean the Rolling Stones.
It's not unlike a credence clearwater rock & roll song, but it's about a lonely little old man, lyrically, who's basically saying, my time as a young man were very difficult, but when I look back now, I really missed those tough times because it sure was better back then. It's a fun one, it's just 2 chords and it's rock and roll, but you know there are none that I have that I would say, Gee, I just can't stand the music, but these lyrics were pretty good with this song. You know, the whole thing isn't done until it's all, you know, sufficiently complimentary.
I have one that's pretty moody called "Oh, To Be Back With You" that the music is I would say maybe distinctive.
I've written a memoir that's called Big City Cat, it's after one of the songs on my first album. And a lot of the book is about songs. It's also about my experiences with some of the changes in in pop music. Music itself is impervious. I mean there's 12 notes in the western regular music scale, you know, accommodates Jimmie Rodgers or Kanye West I suppose. It's a lot less organic, but there are a lot of people out there still doing it the organic way, so that's still alive and well.