WILMINGTON -- Touring musician Steve Forbert will arrive in town after playing several shows in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

"I travel mostly to the Eastern Seaboard, where people's taste in music runs a little more towards the lyrics, the stories and perhaps poetry of folk rock," he said.

A barbecue followed by a concert at Memorial Hall on July 26 at 8 p.m. will go to benefit the Wilmington Fund, a non-profit group providing assistance in recovery and revitalization efforts following Tropical Storm Irene.

Tickets are available on Wilmingtonfund.org, costing $25 for general seating and $30 at the door. Premium seating which includes dinner with Forbert and complimentary drinks are $150.

(submitted photo)
(submitted photo)
There are only 150 spots available for this option.

Hailing from Tennessee, Forbert usually travels solo unless there is a special occasion such as a band's anniversary.

"You could say I'm a troubadour," he said.

The song "Romeo's Tune" hit No. 11 on Billboard's Hot 1000 chart when Forbert's second album "Jackrabbit Slim" was released back in 1979. He grew up in Mississippi, eventually landed in New York and then Tennessee.

His most recent album "Over With You" was released in 2012. He also had a museum exhibit using photos he took with his cell phone called "Highway of Spirit."

When Forbert arrives, he says he will take it all in and decide whether any songs are a must for the event.


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He takes the pulse of the situation before going on, which helps him develop a set list.

There will be nothing like dancing bears or a fireworks display at the show, Forbert assured.

He has played in Vermont before and recalled performing in Burlington and White River Junction as well as other towns.

Forbert chooses to describe his music as folk rock simply because throughout the years, he gave up on trying to find a proper way to do so.

"They came out with the term Americana but I predated that," he said.

His influences include artists from legendary folk singer Woody Guthrie to jazz great Thelonious Monk.

As far as new music goes, Forbert only hears songs when his 19-year-old daughter has him listen. He cited Mumford and Sons as a new band that could perhaps be considered folk rock.

Founded after Irene devastated the region, the Wilmington Fund has assisted with various projects in town, such as rebuilding and reopening Dots Restaurant as well as securing funding for lighting in a downtown parking area. The non-profit organization has held various fundraisers and events.

"We try to run a fundraiser every year," said Wilmington Fund founder Dan Killmurray, a second homeowner who felt emotionally and socially obligated to help with rebuilding Wilmington after the storm. "We're starting to see some real progress."

Killmurray lives in Connecticut and is employed in New York City.

There is no specific project attached to the upcoming fundraiser, he told the Reformer. Money will go into the organization's general fund.

"We're involved with everything I feel like," Killmurray said. "It's an exciting time."

The Wilmington Fund recently awarded grants to Lorista Holdings LLC and Zoar Outdoors. Both groups have begun renovations to buildings downtown.

Zoar Outdoors will offer rental equipment and other services for outdoor sports. According to Killmurray, the Wilmington Fund assisted in recruiting the group.

Lorista Holdings LLC has begun turning the Vermont House into an inn. The building was empty since Irene. The group has plans to turn buildings across from the Town Offices into an inn and also purchased the former Poncho's Wreck building.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.