That night in Vermont Forbert talked about having played the Ark just after Rick Danko, the bassist and vocalist from the Band, had appeared there two days before his death. "Oh, I do not feel so well," Danko had written on the wall of the Ark's dressing room. Forbert's new album, Just Like There's Nothin' to It, has a great tribute to Danko called "Wild as the Wind," an affectionate warts-and-all portrait that's receiving decent airplay right now. "He was oddly down-to-earth, but just as wild as the wind," Forbert sings. If Dylan was one thread running through Forbert's output, the warmth and the sometimes mystical power that Dylan's onetime backup band from Canada drew from vernacular American music was a more specific influence. One common classification of Forbert is that he was playing Americana music before there was such a thing, mixing country, rock, and blues. His songs are deceptively straight-ahead musically, but they suggest a lot with just a hint of an inflection in one direction or another.
Steve Forbert comes to the Ark, in a double bill with Stacey Earle, on Thursday, June 3.
[Originally published in June, 2004.]
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