In the documentary films my company produces, we try to offer objective perspective. For example, in The Political Centrist in the Time of Trump a variety of political experts and consultants explain the need for compromise rather than polarization. In our documentary on healthy aging, Who Wants to Live Forever, the Wisdom of Aging,we look at the scammers in the field and those with true insight on how to age well.
This past Friday night I watched first-hand the true joy of a musical genius whose perspective has remained sincere, as this senior citizen burst with youthful exuberance in his entertainment. Steve Forbert and his band were appearing at a large outdoor festival the next day, but this venue was small, funky and fantastic. We were a small group of dedicated fans and he knew it. What he did not know was that perspective had come full circle as he sang to me, again, near forty-years later.
I want to keep my sob story/back story about putting myself through law school brief. I spent hours on the U.S. Route 202 commuting between my job as a law clerk in West Chester, PA and my final year of law school in Wilmington, DE then back to where I lived in a small third floor walkup in an old house. The radiators had long since delivered any heat and it was cold. Someone gave me an old record player and two albums, Joan Armatrading’s Down to Zero and Forbert’s Jackrabbit Slim. I played them every night without fail. Joan gave me inspiration and Steve gave me solace. I knew every word of every song by heart. My dear friend, who later became my business partner, lover and husband (in that order) came to visit and immediately became a fan of Steve’s extraordinary musical poetry. When he left the east coast to attend the University of Southern CA Cinema School, he introduced his film cronies there to the Forbert sound.
When our three children were born, I sang and played Steve’s song first as lullabies and later as teenage angst tunes.
As a nod to the past, in 2004, we bought the rights to “Born Too Late” from his The American in Me album for a short clip in our suspense feature film The Beckoning. From my standpoint, my Forbert circle appeared closed.
But I had still another memory to add, and this time I could share my story and my husband gave him some DVD’s of our film. My eldest daughter, who attended the concert with us, told him she grew up on his music. He took my hand and thanked me with a big smile. Then I sang along as loud as I did in 1979!