Meet Him in the Middle of Roxbury; Musician Steve Forbert Aims for Succasunna

In the final song on his second album, the last words you hear young Steve Forbert sing are in the form of a question: “It’s often said that life is strange. Oh yes, but compared to what?”

It’s been almost 40 years since Forbert made that inquiry in the song “January 23-30, 1978.” On Saturday night in Succasunna, the veteran singer-songwriter might have some answers.

Now 62, Forbert, who leaped to fame at 25 years old with the 1979 hit “Romeo’s Tune,” will help the Roxbury Arts Alliance celebrate its 20th anniversary by performing in the Investor’s Bank Theater at Horseshoe Lake.

He still might find life strange, but one thing Forbert doesn’t consider weird is playing small venues like Roxbury’s, a place that can squeeze in 200 people at best. “That part of it is what you call ‘working for a living,’” Forbert said.

Nearly four decades on the road, on and off, have seen Forbert performing worldwide, to audiences both massive and tiny. He said he’s not above entertaining even a few folks, should the time and place make it rewarding.

“Out in the Midwest, I might do some house concerts,” Forbert said.

If it seems that Forbert has somehow almost always been around this part of the country, at least since he reached manhood, that’s about right. Forbert, who lives near Asbury Park, said he enjoys playing the tri-state area. People here seem to get him, he explained.

“This is a highly concentrated, well-educated part of the county,” Forbert said. “It’s just been an area that understood where I was coming from, even since the first album … I got started in Manhattan and now I live in New Jersey. I’m just more in tune with this part of the country.”

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