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Steve Forbert

Just Like There's Nothin' To It – 2004 (Koch)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Steve Forbert

Much like Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker and Neil Young, Steve Forbert has an unmistakable voice. That was apparent when he burst on the scene over 25 years ago with the top 20 hit "Romeo's Tune." His raspy, sometimes half-spoken vocals are to be relished for the feelings they possess rather than for their distinctive quality.

Forbert hasn't exactly been prolific. Over those years he has just now gotten to his 11th studio effort and his 1st since "Any Old Time," a tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, nominated for a Grammy Award two years ago. But what Forbert lacks in quantity he more than makes up for in quality.

Since his excellent 1995 outing "Mission of the Crossroad Palms," much of his work has had a rural if not country feel and this new disc follows that pattern. The material - all 12 written by Forbert - ranges from the clever "The Change Song," to the poignantly sad "Wild as the Wind," a tribute to The Band's Rick Danko. Edie Brickell provides welcome backup vocals on three cuts. Forbert here is what he has nearly always been, a consistently pleasing artist who is unafraid to switch gears and provide surprises.