Roy Performs ‘Thistles’ Live, In Its Entirety

Today’s Vancouver Island MusicFest 2023 Performer Announcement features a very special feature, put together just for us, Classic Albums – Roy Forbes performs the BIM Thistles album!

There are records that stay with you for a lifetime. You likely listened to them so much when they came out, you can still play them in your head and just maybe, even name the songs in the order they appeared on sweet vinyl.

Iconic Canadian folk-rock performer Roy Forbes (used to be known as BIM way back then) has a couple of albums from those days that fans of the 70s singer-songwriter days can relate to that way and his Thistles album is certainly one of them.

It comes from the days when James Taylor, Joni, Carole King, Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine, Neil Young and other singer-songwriters were part of th musical fabric of the day. These albums really defied genre definition, and because of that, “singer-songwriter” became a thing. It was also a time when performers really started to play their own music and that was ok. Actually, it was great!

Thistles was recorded at the Annex Studio in California in 1977/78 and was produced by Emitt Rhodes and featured a young David Foster on Keys and legendary drummer Jeff Porcaro amongst other great musicians.The album also featured the beautiful guitar work of Roy Forbes aka BIM. Considering Roy grew up in Dawson Creek long before it was easy to learn guitar off the internet or through instructional videos, its astounding he came up with some of the great guitar work he created.

MusicFest’s musical curator, Doug Cox, approached his old friend Roy and asked him if he would consider revisiting the Thistles album for a special concert bowl performance. In Doug’s words, “Roy Forbes performances are an important part of the history of pretty well every Folk Festival in Canada. He was one of our founding performers and he helped blaze the trail for so many of us. I can’t remember how many times I saw him on workshop stages at Canadian festivals and when he opened his mouth and started singing, all the other performers would just stop in their tracks, wide mouthed and in awe of this great writer and guitarist with the killer voice! You don’t see that happen very often.”

In Roy’s words, “Doug Cox is a very persuasive fellow. When he approached me last year about revisiting my 1978 Thistles LP at the 2023 Musicfest, I wasn’t quite sure. I love being a part of this treasured event but prefer to look forward, not back. However, as our chat continued, I began to see that it would actually be very cool to dive into that batch of songs from the Bim’ days. So, I’ll be there, with an excellent band in tow, to play the complete “Thistles” record, front-to-back. Honestly, I’m getting kind of excited. I haven’t performed some of these numbers since the early 80s. And, Doug has assured me that there will be several opportunities for me to share my newer work throughout the weekend. Thanks for this, Doug. Great idea. It’s gonna be a blast!”

Hopefully you didn’t miss the opportunity to revisit one of Canada’s great albums with the man who created it.

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