Since arriving in Austin in 1990, Guy Forsyth has made his mark on this city’s music scene (and worldwide) in multiple configurations, from the popular retro bands Asylum Street Spankers and Hot Nut Riveters to full blues and rock bands and various trios and duos. But he’s also mesmerized audiences as a soloist — mixing blues, folk, soul, jazz, bluegrass and myriad other genres into his singular sound.
On his new EP, Rider, releasing Nov. 3 on his own Small and Nimble Records label, Forsyth again fuses multiple styles into four songs that exhibit his vast range, from the uptempo rock of “Get Up,” in which he reveals how he formed his lifelong love of music — and compulsion to make it no matter what — to the soulful “Rolling Blackout Blues,” in which he mourns a friend who died of hypothermia during Austin’s big freeze of 2021. On the galloping title tune, Forsyth sings of “ghosts and scars that we carry around inside; those hard-to-shake-off, unwanted guests that rattle around our heads and hearts.” On “Armalite,” he delivers a searing depiction of our current fear-based existence.
For this effort, the singer and multi-instrumentalist played guitar, harmonica, saw and percussion, joined by longtime producer and collaborator Mark Addison, who co-wrote “Rider” and “Get Up” and contributed vocals, bass, guitars and keyboards. They were accompanied by John Chipman (the Band of Heathens, Ruthie Foster) on drums and the Band of Heathens’ Colin Brooks on pedal steel.
Forsyth is celebrating the EP’s release with a Nov. 4 band performance and party at 7 p.m. at the Vortex, an artist-owned multidisciplinary venue at 2307 Manor Road, Austin, and repeats the celebration Nov. 10 at 8:30 p.m. at Sam’s Town Point in San Antonio. At these shows and other upcoming dates, including the headliner slot at the South Main Arts Festival in Georgetown, Texas (see list below), he’ll be showcasing these songs and others from a planned EP trilogy that he intends to expand into an album.
Two of Forsyth’s most successful albums were helmed by Addison: Unrepentant Schizophrenic Americana and Love Songs: For and Against. The latter contained their co-write, “Long Long Time,” which spent over six months in heavy rotation on Austin’s KGSR-FM (now Austin City Limits Radio); the album got a 4.5-star rating on Allmusic.com, and both album and song earned Austin Music Award nominations. (With nine wins, Forsyth has made the awards’ all-time winners list; his honors include two vocal awards and four for Best Miscellaneous Instrument.)
“Mark challenged me to write from an intimate personal space,” Forysth says. “Songs, however personal they may be, still have to reach the listener. Poetry, rhythm, rhyme and tone are tools to transcend time and space and transport you to another place. A place where you might find a story that informs and enriches your own. I hope ‘the human’ comes through in these songs ... and ‘the ghosts,’ too.”
Upcoming Texas shows
Oct. 21, 5 p.m. – South Main Arts Festival, Georgetown (free)
Oct. 22, 1 p.m. – Devil’s Backbone, Fischer (free; all ages)
Nov. 4, 7 p.m. – The Vortex, Austin (EP release)
Nov. 10, 8:30 p.m. – Sam’s Burger Joint, San Antonio (EP release)
Nov. 17, 8 p.m. – Poodie’s Roadhouse, Spicewood
Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. – Café Momentum, Dallas (Sunday Supper Concert Series)
Dec. 21, 9:30 p.m. – McGonigel's Mucky Duck, Houston