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Steve Forbert

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Meridian MS, United States (1978 – present)

Steve Forbert (born Samuel Stephen Forbert, December 13, 1954 in Meridian, Mississippi) is an American singer-songwriter. He is best known for his song “Romeo’s Tune”, which reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1980. Forbert’s tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, Any Old Time, was nominated for a 2004 Grammy in the best traditional folk category. In 2006, he was inducted into the Mississippi Music Hall of Fame.

Forbert signed a recording contract with Nemperor in 1978, and they released his debut album, Alive on Arrival, that same year. His song “Romeo’s Tune”, although “dedicated to the memory of Florence Ballard” on the sleeve of Forbert’s second album Jackrabbit Slim (released in 1979), is not about Supremes singer Ballard who died in 1976. “Forbert admits that Ballard became a timely connection for “Romeo’s Tune”, written about a girl from Meridian. “That seemed like such bad news to me and such sad news. She wasn’t really taken care of by the music business, which is not a new story”. At around this time critics hailed Forbert as “The new Bob Dylan” because of a similar vocal timbre and thoughtful songwriting. The front cover of Jackrabbit Slim encourages such comparisons with its simplicity: a black and white photo of Steve Forbert playing a well-worn Martin acoustic guitar with a capo on it, his shirt tinted green. The record was recorded in Nashville and produced by John Simon who had worked with The Band.

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