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New CD – Edge of Blue

A new Roy Forbes recording is a rare occurrence. Roy doesn’t pop ‘em out every year or so. He takes his time, working slowly to get it right. Edge of Blue may just be the Vancouver singer-songwriter’s best yet – a summation by an artist who has been doing this for a long time. On this album both Roy’s roots and routes are showing; the influences he’s absorbed and where he’s been. Edge of Blue is ten songs full of wisdom, confessions, vulnerability, sensuality, self-reflection and celebration. More of a soul album than country or folk; it has nothing to do with what is ‘hip’ and ‘happening’ in the mainstream music business. This is art song – memorable words, compelling compositions, spare production and a voice every bit as original as when the “kid full of dreams” first came to town almost fifty years ago – pure Roy Forbes.

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BUY A CD COPY OF EDGE OF BLUE HERE.

If you’d like to get a CD copy of Edge Of Blue and you live in Canada, you can e-transfer $22.00 per disc (includes shipping and taxes) here and a copy will be put in the mail to you. Please remember to include your address with your order.

If you’re in the USA or other parts of the world, please e-mail us for details.

"On his 11th album, the Canadian folk fixture from Dawson Creek offers up another collection of soulful numbers that range from an almost La Bamba-esque early rock ‘n’ roll sounds ("Don’t Let Go"), to beautiful country folk balladry ("The Beating of Your Very Own Heart") and sweet blues ("Feeling Mighty Lonesome"). As always, his quavering tenor is powerful and full of emotion, the playing is deep in the pocket and listening to the album leaves you wondering why he isn’t a household name." – Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun/Province February 12, 2020

This Week: a Fifteenth Birthday Bash

On April 10, 2006, a brand-new show hit the CKUA airwaves. Fifteen years and a day later, RRR host, Roy Forbes, celebrates a decade-and-a-half of Triple-R Radio with esteemed CKUA announcer Grant Stovel along for the ride.

Grant and Roy talk about Roy’s lifelong passion for vinyl and shellac, spinning sides about buttercups, psychotic reactions, Tennessee hustlers, electrocution, love drops and more.

You’ll hear a few of Roy’s record collecting stories, from a sock hop at Frank Ross Junior Secondary high school in Dawson Creek, BC, to a cluttered, unheated back room of a Peace River, AB, junk shop. The playlist is jam-packed with treasures from Count Five, the Birmingham Jubilee Singers, the Fort Worth Doughboys, the Esquires, Wanda Jackson, Jimmie Rodgers (with Louis & Lil Armstrong), Barry Allen, and more.

Join the festivities on Sunday, April 11, 1pm Mountain, as Grant Stovel and Roy Forbes celebrate fifteen years of Rooooy’s Record Room, the show that continues to revolve, and revolve, and revolve.

Listen here:ckua.com/listen-live

‘Roy’s Record Room’ on CKUA

Sundays from 1:00 – 2:00 pm Mountain Time (noon – 1:00 pm Pacific Time).

This Week: ATLANTIC RECORDS AT 78 RPM

This week, Roy will be mining the RRR archives for a stack of shellac celebrating the early years of the revered Atlantic label. You’ll hear some tough R&B, doo-wop, blues, and early rock ‘n’ roll from 1947 to 1957 featuring the sounds of Big Joe Turner, Stick McGhee & His Spo-Dee-O-Dee Buddies, The Clovers, Ruth Brown, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters, T-Bone Walker, LaVerne Baker and more.

That’s Sunday, April 4, 1 PM, Mountain, for Atlantic Records at 78 rpm on Rooooy’s Record Room, the show that is a week away from celebrating fifteen years on the CKUA Radio Network.

Listen to the show on-line HERE.

Penguin Eggs Review of Edge of Blue

His first album of original material in two decades feels as natural as his first recording.

by Pat Langston

Edge of Blue, the new album by Roy Forbes, glances backward while simultaneously speaking to the present.

The record is a tasty blend of soul, old-school rock’n’roll and country, with Forbes’s high, quavering voice—a voice that, decades ago, gave us the definitive cover of Hank Williams’s I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry—positioned front and centre.

When he decided to make the album, the West Coast artist quite consciously dipped into the past.

“I wanted to get back to the spirit of Kid Full of Dreams,” he says, referring to his debut album, released in 1975 when he was performing under the name of Bim. Back then, “I dug my heels in and said, ‘I want to sing everything live (off the floor).’ That’s the way you want to get me.”

Over the years, he’s taken advantage of technology for some records but for Edge of Blue the basic vocal tracks are live. There was some overdubbing and a couple of fixes along the way but not the autotuning and other tricks that make some singers sound so perfect it’s almost scary.

Making the album was “like it used to be. For the most part, what you’re hearing is what I was feeling. The vocals aren’t perfect but they are heartfelt.”

Even his pre-studio technique has an element of times past. When he’s working on a new song, for instance, he often uses a cassette recorder. He says it sounds terrible but he likes the tactile quality of the recorder’s buttons.

And though no one would accuse Forbes of living in the past, he mentions that most of the music he listens to comes from an earlier time, when today’s multi-track recording technology wasn’t available. If you’ve ever listened to the collection of 78s, 45s, and LPs he plays on his Sunday afternoon CKUA show Roy’s Record Room you’ll know what he means. Add it all up and this album feels like a first album to him.

“I can’t explain it, but it does,” says the man who has recorded 14 of them, including a couple as a member of UHF with Shari Ulrich and Bill Henderson. “I’ve kind of come full circle.”Continue reading

CFMA Nomination for Producer of the Year

Roy got an early Christmas present this year…a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination for Producer of the Year for his new album ‘Edge of Blue’. Since 1985, Roy has produced or co-produced all of his own albums as well as records by other artists. He is tickled to get the nod for this area of his work from the CFMA ‘Producer of the Year’ jury.

The awards will be held virtually on April 9th and 10th, 2021. Find out more here: folkawards.ca

More on Roy and Edge of Blue

Out This Week
by Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun/Province – Vancouver BC
February 12, 2020

On his 11th album, the Canadian folk fixture from Dawson Creek offers up another collection of soulful numbers that range from an almost La Bamba-esque early rock ‘n’ roll sounds ("Don’t Let Go"), to beautiful country folk balladry ("The Beating of Your Very Own Heart") and sweet blues ("Feeling Mighty Lonesome"). As always, his quavering tenor is powerful and full of emotion, the playing is deep in the pocket and listening to the album leaves you wondering why he isn’t a household name.


Roy Forbes Launches New Album
by Ben Bengtson, North Shore News – North Vancouver BC
February 14, 2020

Attempting to demonstrate the difference between playing with a full band versus playing solo, the singer-songwriter describes being on stage all by his lonesome as a kind of tightrope act, a high wire performance that truly makes him come alive – despite the dangers of being up there without the support of other musicians.

"When you’re by yourself, you can go anywhere – and I do,” says Forbes.

Across 10 shimmering original tunes on his new album, Edge of Blue, set to be released next week, Forbes has opted for a full-band affair, but as usual it’ll just be him and his Gurian guitar up there for the concert next Friday in celebration of the album’s official release.

Although he continues to tout the joys of walking the live performance high wire, there was a period during the last five years where Forbes’s artistic vision was tested by a lack of sight.

Afflicted with poor vision in general for most of his life, the veteran B.C. songwriter was rearranging boxes at home in 2015 when a heavy one slipped and hit him in the eye. Following multiple surgery, his eyesight couldn’t be saved, leaving him essentially legally blind.

Adjusting to his new reality during the past five years came with a host of challenges, but it was in his current situation where Forbes starting putting together a new batch of songs.

“You just do it. Somebody said, ‘What’s your philosophy of life right now?’ and I said, ‘Start from now,’” says Forbes.

Across an almost 50-year musical career, Forbes has never been one to rush release an album. The songs come when they come, he says, adding that a musician needs to know, really know, when they’ve got something before putting it out. And sometimes you just know.

“With Edge of Blue, I starting writing for that in the summer of 2016. I’d had my accident and was just adjusting to my new life as an unsighted guy. I started writing around that time and I just kept chipping away. Some of the songs came quickly,” says Forbes.

Perhaps best known for his high, soulful vocal style and acoustic blues mastery, Forbes was born and got his start in music in his hometown of Dawson Creek, B.C. He describes his early forays in music as typical for many teenagers: “Get a guitar at 14, the easy play-a-guitar-in-five minutes book, learning the chords …”

And once he learned the chords for “I Fought the Law,” he was “off and writing songs.”

He moved to Vancouver in 1971 and performed under the childhood nickname “Bim” for a time. British Invasion acts like John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and the early Rolling Stones introduced him to the blues, at which point he set off on his own and discovered Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson for himself.

At 18 years old, Forbes landed a gig opening for Rita Coolidge at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and his trajectory was set. “Suddenly here I am in front of this big audience and I killed it. It was my night,” he says. As Forbes gears up to celebrate the release of Edge of Blue, he reflects on his love of music in general. For years he’s hosted Roy’s Record Room on CKUA. Culling from his large collection of vinyl LPs, 78s and shellac, he’s spun tunes on the show every week, but had to have his daughter help him significantly in the last many years following his loss of sight.

“As of last summer, I’ve taken it over again. I’m editing digital audio again, which is a big deal,” he says.

Clearly, he still enjoys walking that high wire. As he sings in the opening track of his new album: “You’ve got to find the joy in your heart and don’t let go.”

20 questions with Roy Forbes
by Vancouver Presents
February 12, 2020

A new album is a rare occurrence for the musician and through Edge of Blue‘s ten songs, Roy explores his roots and routes amassed over a nearly fifty-year career.

1. Your first job?
Filling shelves at New Deal Grocery in Dawson Creek. Lesson learned? Rotate your stock.

2. The job you always wanted as a child?
The job I’ve had for over fifty years. Writing, recording and playing music.

3. Your pet peeve?
Peanut butter and honey on my fingers.

4. Your hero?
Heroes come and go.

5. Your biggest indulgence?
Vinyl and shellac records. Mostly 45s and 78s but I love 33s as well.

6. One thing no one knows about you?
That’s for me to know…

7. Three things you would want with you on a deserted island?
If we’re talking records, I’d take Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde, the Band’s Music From Big Pink and the Miles Davis Kind Of Blue LP.

8. The one word your best friend would use to describe you?
Roy! In italics.

9. If they made a movie about your life, who would it star?
Oh, what the heck. How about Peter Falk. After all, Columbo always knew more than he was letting on…

10. Hero or villain?
A bit of both. In other words, a normal guy.

11. Your life’s motto/mantra?
Start from now.

12. The song getting the most play on your Spotify playlist right now?
Things Have Changed by Bettye LaVette. Her entire album of Dylan interpretations is colossal.

13. The last book you read?
Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem.

14. If you were a cartoon character, what cartoon character would you be, and why?
I’ll be darned if I know.

15. What will it say on your grave marker?
Here lies Lydia’s boyfriend.

16. Who would you most like to have dinner with?
My dad, who passed when I was three.

17. Your idea of happiness.
A fiddle solo by the jazz violinist, Stuff Smith. Joy oozes from every note.

18. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your twenty-year-old self?
Start from now.

19. The one thing in your life that makes you most proud?
My child, Riley, a proud trans man.

20. To be or not to be?
As Paul said, “Let it be”.

What's In Your Fridge?
by Mike Usinger, The Georgia Straight – Vancouver BC
February 9, 2020

What’s in Your Fridge is where the Straight asks interesting Vancouverites about their life-changing concerts, favourite albums, and, most importantly, what’s sitting beside the Heinz ketchup in their custom-made Big Chill Retropolitan 20.6-cubic-foot refrigerators.

Who are you?
Lydia’s sweetheart. Riley’s dad. Singer, guitar player, writer of songs, spinner of platters on the radio (CKUA), obsessive vinyl and shellac record collector. Truly alive when walking the live performance high wire. Currently releasing a new album, Edge of Blue. Ten brand new songs.

First concert?
Hank Snow at the Vogue Theatre in Dawson Creek, circa the early '60s. I don’t remember who took me. It was like Hank and I were the only ones in the room. In my young dreamer mind, I felt sure that Hank would spot me, pick off my (imagined) supreme musical ability, tap me on the shoulder and put me in that spotlight. Ha, ha.

In the summer of 1968, the Vogue had morphed into the Elks Hall. My band, the Crystal Ship, was competing in a battle of the bands. We didn’t win. The big moment came at the end when all five bands played "Gloria" at the same time. Must have been one hell of a racket. I’m not sure that Hank Snow would have approved.

Life-changing concert?
Neil Young, solo, at the QE Theatre, early 1971. I was well on the road to becoming a singer-songwriter when I saw this Neil performance. (I had only six months of school to ride out before I’d leave Dawson Creek for Vancouver in the summer of ’71). Neil was touring behind his After the Goldrush LP, which spoke volumes to me. Like Neil was speaking directly to my tortured adolescent soul. The concert opener, John Hammond, was fiery and intense. My introduction to live blues. Then Neil came on. He told funny stories. Played a new tune he’d written the night before. Trotted out song after incredible song. He showed me how it could be done, and I set to work, figuring out how to do it. Amazingly, 10 or so months later, I was performing on that same stage, opening for Rita Coolidge. It was my big introduction to Vancouver audiences. Bim had arrived. Today, both Neil and I are still at it.

Honourable mention goes to Bruce Springsteen at the QE in 1978. Bruce put the rock ‘n’ roll back in my soul.

Top three records?
Yesterday, it might have been Blonde on Blonde, Big Pink, and Kind Of Blue. Today? Sam Cooke Night Beat. This album is where I go when I want to be reminded what it is to really sing.

Bill Frisell Guitar in The Space Age. I couldn’t stop playing this record when it came out. Bill and his silver-stringed partner Greg Leisz are like two bodies, one mind. A thing of beauty and something to aspire to as a guitar player.

John Prine, John Prine. My first manager played it for me on a rainy January night back in 1972 after smoking some strong stuff. I was amazed. The folks that John was singing about were people I’d grown up with in Dawson Creek. I could see the wrinkles on their skin, the stains on their boots, feel the pain in their hearts. “Far From Me”, “Angel From Montgomery”, “Sam Stone”, and “Hello In There”. The list goes on and on. Still as strong today as back in ’72 although the smile is legal in Canada now.

All-time favourite video?
Bob Bossin’s “Sulphur Passage” I’ve never really been into music videos. I found that they interfered with the pictures I had in my head. But, if pushed, I’d have to give mention to Bob Bossin’s “Sulphur Passage”, a video that made a difference. Oh, and, I’m in it, part of an all-star cast.

What’s in your fridge?
Beet pickles. When my niece, Tracy, calls me up, saying she has some good news, I get excited, knowing that soon she’ll show up with a couple big jars of beet pickles. They don’t last long at our house. Slice ‘em up, put ‘em in a salad with goat cheese and mixed greens. Pile a few on the plate with your turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Someone in our house even eats beet pickle sandwiches.

Saskatoon jam. A fair-sized jar of Saskatoon jam, made by my pal, Howard, currently has short-term residence in our fridge. Howard and his brother Bill picked the Saskatoons on a warm July morning last summer, just outside of Chetwynd, BC. By three that afternoon, the berries were jam. If I want a taste of the north, all I need is a wee bite of that fine concoction.

At least two pounds of butter. I live with a fabulous baker so it’s essential to keep at least two pounds of butter in the fridge. One never knows when Lydia will take a notion to bake up a storm. I’m especially fond of her scones. They go quite nicely with some of Howard’s Saskatoon jam.

AMI TV Documentary on Roy

Back in August, 2019, AMI TV’s Rob Simpson and Tim Testor came to Vancouver to spend a few days hanging out with Roy, gathering material for a documentary on the singer.

Roy’s episode of “Rhythms” features quite a bit of footage of his mid-August outdoor Vancouver CBC Nooner concert along with an extensive interview. They even got in a visit to a record store!

Go HERE to view it online.

‘Straight Outta Dawson’ on CBC-TV

Roy performed for the first time with opera singer Ben Heppner and soul singer Tonye as part of CBC Music’s special show ‘Straight Outta Dawson’. “There is no Dawson Creek sound,” said Forbes. “The three of us are very different. But the fact that [Dawson Creek] had a little something to do with all three of us is pretty interesting. There’s more stuff going up there as well that people don’t know about.”

You can read more about the show HERE. It aired on September 23rd, 2017.

BC Entertainment Hall of Fame Induction

On July 28, 2017 The BC Entertainment Hall of Fame (BCEHOF) announced its 2017 BCEHOF inductees. These seven new Star Walk Stars and two Pioneer Stars will join the 275+ previous inductees who have been recognized for their significant contribution to the province’s entertainment industry and cultural landscape.

The BCEHOF is divided into two prestigious categories: Star Walk and Pioneers. The Star Walk inductees are individuals who have enhanced the province’s cultural profile, both locally and on the world stage. The 2017 Star Walk inductees included Roy in the music category.

Roy was formally inducted at his old stomping grounds the CBC, at his Musical Nooner concert there on August 24th. His fans and friends joined in on the celebration.

Roy’s star was unveiled on the Walk of Fame on Granville Street near the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver. The ceremony will take place on Monday, September 25 at 3pm.

Read the entire press release HERE.

Check out Roy’s Facebook page for some photos of the occasion.

A Live Performance on Roundhouse Radio

Roy performed Mince Meat Tart on a special Christmas edition of Live from Railtown with Terry David Mulligan. Watch The YouTube video as Roy is joined by Sheri Ulrich, Shaun Verreault, Barney Bentall and Craig Northey for a very special performance of Mince Meat Tart. Terry even joins in with all the fun!

Check it out HERE.

A Message from Roy – My Next Chapter

Hey, all. Some of you already know, but for those who don’t, I have some hard news to share. After an accident on December 22, 2015, I have lost the vision in my only eye.The last seven months have been a series of surgeries and visits to the Eye Care Centre in Vancouver where my doctors made a valiant effort to save my sight. My heartfelt thanks to them for their wonderful care and kindness. As well, Lydia and I would like to thank family and friends who have kept us surrounded by love and support through

Despite this setback I have not been idle. With the help of my daughter, Suzannah, I continue to keep my CKUA radio show “Roy’s Record Room” on the go (big thanks, Suz). And now, armed with a couple of new songs, I am ready to hit the stage again. I look forward to being on the road again very soon! Please come by after a show to say hi.

– Roy

An Article About the Return to Dawson Creek

Here’s an interesting article from the Alaska Highway News leading up to Roy’s 2015 concert in Dawson Creek.

Roy Forbes returns to the Peace Region this weekend

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

It doesn’t take much for Roy Forbes to launch into stories about home.

The Rolla-born musician, who plays Dawson Creek Saturday, brims with tales of the early days of rock n’ roll in the Northeast.

On the phone from North Vancouver Wednesday, he recalls practice sessions in a Pouce Coupe shack and a late-night trip down the Alaska Highway after a show in Fort St. John in the dead of winter.

“We had two guys in the bed [of a truck] with quilts over the equipment,” he said.

Forbes left for Vancouver at 18 and went on to become one of the region’s best-known cultural exports — a frequent performer at folk festivals and rock clubs, as well as a radio presenter.

On Feb. 14, he plays the Calvin Kruk Centre in what organizers hope will be the first of a regular concert series.

Since his first album 1975, Dawson Creek has featured prominently in both Forbes’  music and his story.

“It’s certainly more interesting to talk about that growing up in the suburbs, I think,” he said of his upbringing.

Continue reading

Roy Co-Produces ‘They Tried to Rock’ Compilation Series for Bear Family Records

Roy has joined mutually musically-minded pals Hank Davis and Scott Parker in co-producing "They Tried To Rock" - a four-part compilation series for the esteemed reissue label, Bear Family. The premise of the series is - how did pop and country stars react and try to survive as the rock 'n' roll tsunami swept through the music industry in the mid-nineteen-fifties?

Check the links to see cover art, descriptive notes and track listings for "TTTR - The Hillbillies", Volume 1 and Volume 2, the first two instalments in the four-part series.

Hank, Scott and Roy are currently hard at work, compiling the next two discs in the batch, "TTTR - The Popsters", aiming for a 2015 release.

Roy has contributed to Bear Family releases in the past. He provided transfers from one of his rare 78s for Canadian country singer Bob King's recent BF reissue album, Rockin' The Jukebox

He co-compiled the BF Smoke That Cigarette disc back in 2009.

He also assisted with the transfers of rare 78s, 45s and acetates for the BF Real Gone Aragon compilation, released in 2003.

Roy’s 40th Anniversary Celebration!

Forty years ago, at the age of eighteen, Roy journeyed to Vancouver from Dawson Creek to make a life making music. In the fall of 2011, he celebrated ‘forty years a music guy’ with a series of concerts around the province of British Columbia. The shows were all solo – a guy and his guitar. Roy pulled out songs from all through his long career, including a few oldies that he hadn’t played in many years.

Go HERE to read a journal about how it all went down.

Roy Adds Two More to His Already Impressive List of Covers

The folks just keep on covering Roy’s tunes

Suzie Vinnick recently included Roy’s ‘Crazy ‘Bout Lovin’ Me’ on her superb new blues release, ‘Me ‘n’ Mabel’. This is the fourth Roy tune this great gal has covered over the past few years. Go HERE to see Suzie’s web site, and HERE to see her singing ‘Crazy ‘Bout Lovin’ Me’ on YouTube.

Denise Withnell (of ‘Cowboy Celtic’ fame) has a nice smoky version of Roy’s ‘Let Me Make It Up To You Tonight’ on her new CD, ‘Rose Petal Pie’. Go HERE to hear her fine CD.

“Snap Crackle Pop” on CBC Radio One

After thirty-plus years with the CBC, my pal and SCP co-host Paul Grant retired in the summer of 2009. He’s taking some well deserved time to do whatever the heck he wants and I know that all of us wish him well. We out here on the West Coast really miss his warm and knowledgeable presence on the CBC. He’s one of the good ‘uns!

Paul and I managed to slip in quite a few editions of Snap Crackle Pop over thirteen years. From our first national broadcast on Radio One in September, 1996, to the most recent show in January, 2009, the two of us spent many a happy hour spinning those records, unravelling the roots of today’s music and sharing our finds with all of you. I learned a lot about making radio from Paul during our run of ‘Snaps’ and I want to say ‘Thanks, buddy’.

As my good friend Bill Henderson wrote, back in the early 70s, ‘If there’s no audience, there just ain’t no show’. And, folks, you SCP fans have been the BEST audience a radio show could have. I treasure the e-mails I’ve received from you over the years, sharing your own musical finds, memories, information, mis-information corrections and tips for some great batches of records that have now become a part of my collection. And those supportive face-to-face comments in airport bookstores, restaurants, post-offices and coffee shops; at after-concert CD signing sessions and on street corners all across Canada – all have been much appreciated. Thanks for being there for SCP.

At this point, I can’t say what the future of Snap Crackle Pop will be with the CBC. If it’s meant to continue at some point, I’m in! If not, it’s been a great run.