Steve Forbert Tries to Leave the Past Behind in 'Tryna Let It Go': Video Premiere

Jay Blakesberg
Steve Forbert

Steve Forbert didn't plan to appear in the video for "Tryna Let It Go," a track from his latest album The Magic Tree, or even make a proper video for the song at all. But as the clip premiering below shows, the veteran singer-songwriter's aesthetic sensibility led him to make something greater out of what was intended to be a lyric video.

"I had this idea that I was just going to get a nice, antique snow globe and just film the snow up close as if you were inside a blizzard, and have the lyrics go by as you're watching it," Forbert tells Billboard. "But the damn song is four minutes long, and it got extremely boring, so no way." 

The resulting video for "Tryna Let It Go," a lament he wrote about getting past a broken romance, shows Forbert walking around Keyport, N.J., returning the snow globe to the thrift shop he borrowed it from and then walking past the post office and finishing up as he enters a bar -- quietly and effectively channeling the  inner turmoil he sings about in the track.

"We were in Keyport with a limited amount of time," Forbert recalls. "A friend of mine [George McMorrow] who has a lot of good equipment and does film work here on the Jersey short just followed me around for awhile. It was a cold day, and we got just enough footage to cover the four minutes. It's not exactly 'Thriller,' but, hey, it's just a lyric video!"

There's a happy ending to all this, however; Forbert is back together with the woman he wrote the song about. "After we broke up I tried to let it go, but I failed," he says with a chuckle. "That's the rest of the story."

The Magic Tree, which came out in September, is intended as a loose companion to Forbert's new memoir Big City Cat: My Life in Folk-Rock. The 12 tracks date as far back as 1985 to four new compositions, many from spare vocal and guitar recordings that were fleshed out by producer Karl Derfler. "The book is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing," Forbert says,"so it's been a little more exciting than usual and a good excuse to have this dichotomy of the book and these recordings."

All of this happens during the 40th anniversary of Forbert's debut album, Alive On Arrival, while next year will mark the same for his breakthrough hit, "Romeo's Tune." "It does feel like 40 years," Forbert acknowledges. "I struggled to put that into context, but it doesn't really matter. I'm gonna keep doing what I love, and I'm grateful to travel around, going to places where people turn up to hear me sing. There's been a lot of change, and I'm not a guy who's gonna put out a record and have it on the radio anymore, but I still get to go out and play. What more could I want?"