Steve Forbert just gets better with age. On The Place And The Time, he proves yet again he's a consummate Southern philosopher-poet who can turn everything from Labor Day to stolen-identity crimes into something at once quirky and smooth, thoughtfully new yet comfortable as an old pair of Levi's. And he always gets super players, like former Elvis/Waylon Jennings sideman Reggie Young and Dave Alvin drummer Bobby Loyd Hicks, who was touring with Forbert back in the "Forbert is the next Dylan" days of the early '70s. The highlights here are cheeky rocker "The Beast of Ballyhoo (Rock Show)," which celebrates the fan in the highest section of the balcony who continues to support the traveling circus of rock and roll; the sentimental, heartwarming "Sing It Again, My Friend"; and the brooding "Who'll Watch the Sunset." Always a masterful lyricist — you don't stick as a songwriter with Nashville's Bluewater Publishing unless you can bring the goods — Forbert drops memorable lines in every song (if not every stanza), none more bull's-eye than this offhand lyric in "Simply Must Move On": "High school weren't that bad, some of it was fun / the jazz band got to swing, the track team got to run." The analysis of a divorce that follows is at once sad yet spiritually liberating, what Forbert does best.
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