Like Popeye and Jonathan Richman, Steve Forbert is what he is. In 28 years of playing sun-dappled heartland rock with the occasional sidelong glance of cynicism, he's only gotten to sound more like his own earnest self. But then, you don't expect a lot of shape-shifting from a Mississippi kid who came to the art-damaged, sleaze-obsessed NYC rock scene of the late '70s to regale CBGB with songs about Southern girls and "the moon in your perfume." The fact that he survived that baptism by fire to earn a record deal and a cult following attests to his music's most undeniable quality: the power to comfort. With Forbert's scratchy midrange, fluid strumming and breezy philosophy, a song like 1979's "Romeo's Tune," or 2000's "Something's Got a Hold on Me" is a rare balm. And in a pop culture of serial reinvention, some things shouldn't change.
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