As a young man from Meridian, Mississippi, Steve Forbert traveled to New York City and played guitar for spare change in Grand Central Station. He vaulted to international prominence with a folk-rock hit, "Romeo's Tune," during a time when rootsy rock was fading out and the Ramones, Talking Heads and other New Wave and punk acts were moving in to the public consciousness. Still, critics raved about Forbert's poetic lyrics and engaging melodies, and the crowds at CBGB's club in New York accepted him alongside those acts. "I've never been interested in changing what I do to fit emerging trends," Forbert observes. "Looking back on it, I was helping to keep a particular American songwriting tradition alive at a time when it wasn't in the spotlight."

After his first two records came a plethora of well-crafted, unforgettable songs on such albums as Little Stevie Orbit, Streets of This Town, The American in Me, Mission of the Crossroad Palms and Evergreen Boy. His tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, Any Old Time, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2004.

Forbert's lengthy discography has established him as an American icon. His music was pure Americana before that genre was recognized. The road and the changing landscape are an integral part of the hard-working Forbert's life and songwriting. He was a truck driver before releasing his first album and says there's "romance" involved when he gets in the car after each show and drives to the next gig in another city.

Fourteen albums on, Forbert's stamp on American music is akin to the legendary footprints of Warren Zevon, Gene Clark, Gram Parsons and other top American songwriters, and he has often been compared to the likes of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Bruce Springsteen. The former group did not get their due during their lifetimes, and that shouldn't happen to Forbert. He deserves to be among the latter group.

Cheryl Wheeler

Cheryl Wheeler has to be seen to be appreciated. Nothing you read and nothing you hear from her albums prepares you for how good a performer she is.

You may not be familiar with Cheryl, but you have probably heard her music. She is very respected as a songwriter by her peers, which can be seen by how many of them record her songs. Cheryl's songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Dan Seals, Peter Paul and Mary, Kenny Loggins, Garth Brooks, Suzy Boggus, Melanie, Bette Midler, Maura O'Connell, Sylvia, Kathy Mattea, and Holly Near. If they think she is great, then you owe it to yourself to learn more if you aren't familiar with her.

From her albums you can tell that she is a gifted songwriter with a beautiful voice. From other people's comments about her you can learn that she is a natural story teller with a fantastic sense of humor. But until you see her in person, you never really believe what you've been told about her. Almost half of the songs she does during her shows haven't even been recorded!

$29.50

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Steve Forbert & Cheryl Wheeler

Saturday, December 14 · 8:00 PM at Rams Head On Stage