Steve Forbert’s latest cover and accompanying video of the Grateful Dead’s “Box of Rain” is a timely release considering our shared experience surrounding COVID-19. This monumental song originated with one of the Dead’s founding members, Phil Lesh, composing the music, while Robert ‘Bob’ Hunter wrote the lyrics. Lesh came to identify the song with his dying father. He would practice singing as he drove to the hospital and later the nursing home. Death surrounds us.
A little over 43 years ago, Meridian, MS, native Steve Forbert boarded a train bound for New York City. Twenty-one years old at the time, Forbert, with his guitar and harmonica, spent two years working his way up from street performer living at the YMCA to filling historic Greenwich Village clubs and signing a major label contract. By 1979, Forbert had really hit his stride, releasing Jackrabbit Slim, which produced his first top 40 hit, “Romeo’s Tune,” and afforded Forbert the opportunity to share his music with the world.
Among the Ramones’ blitzkrieg boppin’, the Talking Heads’ art-school New Wave and Blondie’s thrift-store garage pop at the now-legendary CBGB’s in the late ’70s, Steve Forbert stood tall as the lone troubadour. But it didn’t matter to him. “I never thought about it being strange to play there,” he recently confided from Nashville, his current home base. “I just figured they had live entertainment.
Over With You, Steve Forbert’s first studio album in three years, is a focused song cycle featuring an earnest account of the often-mixed emotions involved in personal relationships. The ten new compositions combine the plainspoken honesty and insightful contemplations into this topic that perhaps only a man from Mississippi, the home state of both Jimmie Rodgers and Tennessee Williams, could provide.