Rychard Carrington reports on Steve Forbert and Lynne Hanson - The Junction, Cambridge, 15 October 2012

Steve Forbert
Junction 2, The


It's always pleasing when a little-known support act goes down particularly well with an audience, so it was pleasing tonight that the thoughtful songs of Canadian singer-songrwriter and guitarist Lynne Hanson were deservedly well received. She mainly sings about love, from a sensitive but mature perspective. She might yet achieve substantial success; certainly she deserves to.


Steve Forbert actually started his set slightly early, in a small way confirming the persona of a freewheeling  troubador who sings as he pleases and thoroughly enjoys it. It was just him on onstage, with his guitar and a variety of harmonicas. What a great voice he has, perfect for his generally uplifting songs that are worldly yet romantic. He has maintained his spirit of essential enthusiasm for life lived keenly and honestly, just as it was on his first album,when he was twenty-five. His first number tonight was one of several from that album (Alive On Arrival, 1978), the glorious Thinkin':


There's so many depressions all ploughed in your brain
Trace 'em too far and they'll drive you insane
You're twisted so tight now, you hardly can talk
Get out in the daylight and go for a walk


The songs from the new album, Over With You, are not so different (Don't Look Down, Pollyanna is particularly good). It was great to hear Forbert live, playing in 'the real Cambridge' - as opposed to the Massachucetts one - for the first time (he sounded keen to play the Folk Festival, and indeed he would surely go down verywell there). Like so many singer-songwriters, he tends to go in for overproduction in the studio, giving his albums a blander feel than they deserve. Live he enjoys spontanbeous interaction with the audience, getting us to clap the rhythm and join in refrains during many of the numbers. He also takes several requests, including The Oil Song ('Don't buy it at the station, you can have it now for free / Just come on down to the shoreline where the water used to be') which has updated lyrics to include more recent mega- spillages), Mexico and Responsibility. Romeo's Tune (no. 11 on the Billboard charts in 1980) featured, of course, and Steve Forbert's Midsummer Night's Toast was another highlight. All in all a great evening. Hats off to one of the very best.





writer: Rychard Carrington