40 years for Forbes

When Roy Forbes thinks about his 40 years in the business as a prominent folk music singer and songwriter, the North Vancouver resident points to his fans for his longevity.

Many have been with him from the beginning when he left Dawson Creek for Vancouver in 1971, with guitar in hand, to make a living on the stage and behind the microphone.

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He still gets fan mail. Last week, he opened two emails asking where to buy his 1977 album; people also stop him on the street to tell stories about how they used his songs.

They play Saskatoon Moon at funerals, Lifting My Heart - a spiritual song he penned for his daughter, Suzannah - for happy occasions and Tender Lullabies for graduations, the latter of which has the line: "But if you don't believe in miracles/ You could be taking bad advice."

"Songs are workers, they're like honeybees," Forbes said last week. "They help people articulate their feelings, things they might not be able to say themselves.... I always joke that my songs are used at weddings, funerals and anti-nuclear rallies.

"It's really rewarding on a personal level."

Forbes, who will entertain at Coquitlam's Evergreen Cultural Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way) on Saturday, the second venue on an eight-city tour around B.C. to mark his milestone year, said he's still raring to go after four decades in the industry. "It's not like I'm about to stop. In fact, it feels like I'm just getting started. There's lots to do."

Forty years back, he believes he was fulfilling a prophecy. "When I was very young, even before I could speak, there was a hand on me that said, 'You will do this,'" he said referring to his musical path. "It was something that I had always known that I would do."

"Bim," as he was known then, didn't get the instant fame he pined for; however, he was fortunate to have his mostly acoustic tunes in the public realm and to perform live. He recorded solo albums - including one for Elektra - and two UHF collaborations with Shari Ulrich and Bill Henderson (Chilliwack). These days, Forbes can be heard on CKUA.

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