Steve Forbert was, I believe, the last of the New Dylans, or at least the last until Conor Oberst came along, following in the footsteps of Donovan, Loudon Wainwright III, Elliott Murphy, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen, and I'm sure I'm missing a few others. (If you don't see the footsteps of some of those guys, it's because that was when Springsteen was carrying them.) Unlike the other new Dylans, whose provenance was centered on their lyrics and who tended to sound a lot like The Times They Are a-Changin', Forbert had that rollicking, updated Blonde on Blonde thing going on, with piano and organ fills and sound bursting from the seams.
I was thinking about Steve Forbert after I posted that video of Steely Dan lip-syncing "My Old School," because Little Stevie Orbit made a video of his own for his hit "Romeo's Tune" in the waning days of the 1970s, and it is most pointedly not lip-synced. Forbert and his band perform the tune live, and it's a crackerjack enough unit to improve on the studio-version single. I like to think that CBS suggested that Forbert mime the lyrics, and he said, "Shoot, let's just play the dadgum song live!" (Forbert, like Rob Sheffield's hero Oil Can Boyd, is from Meridian, Mississippi, which is why I have him talking here as if he were Bobby Bowden.)
Forbert hasn't had any more Top Forty hits since "Romeo's Tune" went to Number Eleven in 1980, but he still is out there touring, making records, and keeping a blog, although he hasn't updated it since July, making it no threat to OPC. I liked this take on the Breeders: "Kim Deal is forever as American as French's mustard. The sound she and her twin sister, Kelly, make together is a kind of drug. [Ed. note: Kelley (sic) more than Kim.] 1993's The Last Splash was quite possibly the best rock-'n'-roll record of the nineties."
Here's Stevie Forbert meeting me in the middle of the day: