For many roots music fans in the High Country, Brooks Forsyth is considered one of the best fingerpick guitarists and singers to come out of Watauga High School. Eventually, however, local artists need to get out and into the greater world to find success on a larger scale, and that is what is happening for Forsyth right now.
Forsyth has set out on multiple nationwide tours in recent years, playing in clubs, festivals and other venues from coast to coast. He has also made the rounds in the highly competitive music town of Nashville. Along the way, he has gained a following and has met many different kinds of people during his travels, and that has led to some serendipitous connections that have turned into some great opportunities for the High Country troubadour.
Forsyth’s latest album is “So Much Beyond Us,” produced by Nashville legend Buzz Cason and his son, Parker Cason. The guest musicians on the project include current Grand Ole Opry fiddler and former member of The Greencards: Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year nominated Eamon McLoughlin, Jason Isbell’s guitarist Sadler Vaden, Michael Rinne on bass — who has been the touring bassist for Miranda Lambert and was nominated for AMA Instrumentalist of the Year Award — Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris and many others and Wanda Vick on myriad instruments, who is known for her time in the band Wild Rose.
Buzz Cason is famous for leading Brenda Lee’s band back in the 1950s, for writing hit songs like “Everlasting Love” and “Soldier Of Love,” for performing on albums recorded by Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson, Ronnie Hawkins, Jimmy Buffet, Levon Helm and many others, and he is a member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He is also the owner of Creative Workshop Studios, where Forsyth recorded his latest album.
Through a series of impromptu meetings, Forsyth made some important music business connections that led to good things happening as persistence and wood shedding paid off.
“You know how small of a world it is, man,” Forsyth said. “I met a guy who used to sing for Marty Robbins one night as he was watching me play. You meet people that say stuff like that all of the time, that they know this person or sang with that artist, but he seemed experienced in the music business. So, I asked him if he knew anybody in the business that I should meet and he sent me to another guy who lived in Nashville, North Carolina, not Tennessee, named Spook Joyner, who owns the Rudy Theatre in Selma, N.C. Joyner produces the American Music Jubilee show there. So, I went out and played some songs for Spook, who knew Buzz Cason. Basically, it took me going to Nashville, N.C., to get to Nashville. There were two other people who also helped me get to Buzz, so it was kind of like a bread crumb trail of contacts.”
About three years ago, Forsyth secured a meeting with Cason and played some of his original songs for him, yet at first Cason was not interested in working with Forsyth. After taking some advice from Cason, Forsyth ventured off without a deal of any kind.
“I went back and made another album in Boone and then did two tours around the country independently, as in I booked all of the gigs and drove my car everywhere,” Forsyth said. “I did that twice, doing one loop of the U.S. each year. At the end of the second loop, I reached out to Buzz again, although I didn’t know if he would even answer my message. But, he got back to me and said, ‘All right. I’ll give you another meeting.’ Then, I played for him the songs that I had been working on as I really tried to refine my songwriting craft. I tried to take what he said earlier to heart, when he dissected the songs that I brought in to him. That was probably the first time that I had talked with someone who could professionally dissect songs, and he sensed that I needed more traveling and touring experience. So, I did those tours and stuck with it. And, in that second meeting, he signed me up to record this new album on his label ArenA Recordings.”
Once the album “So Much Beyond Us” was released, yet another set of chance meetings led to the brand new video for the song “Cast My Dreams To The Wind.”
The video for this beautiful song was directed by Nigel Dick, who also directed videos for Tears For Fears (“Shout”), Guns N’ Roses (“Welcome To The Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine”), Florida Georgia Line, Black Sabbath, Britney Spears, Sheryl Crow, Sting and many more. The production took place in the old mining town of Victor, Colorado, with the help of fellow filmmakers Rodel Delfin and Eric Manegold.
“I met a guy in Seattle who set up some shows for me and when those shows went well, he tried to get me back out west for a music festival in Montana,” Forsyth said. “Last October, I flew out to play there in Montana and a music agent from Los Angeles saw me perform, and he is the one that went back to L.A. and contacted Nigel Dick. He sent Nigel the song ‘Cast My Dreams To The Wind.’ Nigel loved it and within two months we were shooting the video in Colorado this past January.”
The video debuted nationally about a week ago on the Bluegrass Situation website, and you can view it now at brooksforsyth.com.
“Nigel proposed the idea for the video as well as the location and we all went with it,” Forsyth said. “Nigel is always scouting new towns, looking for someplace interesting to shoot a video, and Victor, Colo., has got that old school western nature to it. It is a town that makes you feel like you are back in time and Nigel thought it had a certain vibe to it that would match with what we were trying to do with this song.”
Check out the Mountain Times’ Nightlife Listings page 23 to see when Brooks Forsyth will be performing here in the High Country this spring and summer.