SLIM FORSYTHE “THIS IS SLIM FORSYTHE”
Strange to think that two men so heavily woven into Pittsburgh’s live music scene over the past 30 years would never meet face-to-face until the fall of 2016. But that’s the case with Gregg Kostelich and Slim Forsythe.
Forsythe spent the better part of the 1990s managing and promoting Steeltown’s legendary power trio ATS while Kostelich, Get Hip Recordings president and co-founder, performed and recorded with his band, The Cynics. Both groups routinely shared the bill at many of Pittsburgh’s bygone venues: the Electric Banana, Graffiti, and the Upstage Lounge—to name just a few.
In 2004, what Forsythe calls “the whole Slim Thing” fell upon him; Slim Forsythe & the Parklane Drifters appeared the following year. He’s been writing, recording, and performing as Slim Forsythe ever since, with a colorful rotating cast of fellow musicians and music groups. Slim calls what he does “Classic Country Western, Mountain Gospel, Bluegrass, Rockabilly…and some original stuff that sounds like that!”
In early 2016, a random (cyberspace) Happy Birthday greeting from Slim to Kostelich resulted in a fortuitous creative collaboration, beginning with a Get Hip distribution deal for Slim Forsythe’s Greatest Hits (GH-1181). Then, as Slim recounts, on December 9:
“I was hustled into an unmarked van and spirited away to Youngstown, Ohio. When the blindfold came off, I found myself on an upper floor of an abandoned warehouse (or it might have been a bakery). I was ushered into a recording studio. Luckily, I had remembered to bring my guitar.” (That would be “Betty,” Slim’s solid mahogany 000-15 Martin Acoustic, named after his mother).
The result: This Is Slim Forsythe; ten songs straight from the soul of this 61-year-old Northern Tier Kid from Bradford, Pennsylvania.
In the album’s first five numbers, Slim pays homage to some of his heroes: namesake Slim Bryant; Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and Roy Acuff. Then he carries on the tradition, adding five of his own homespun compositions to the Great American Songbook. All but one song—“Works of Straw”—come with one of Slim’s patented spoken-word introductions.
This Is features album photography by the great Heather Mull, captured at the recording studio and outside of Nied’s Hotel (Slim’s headquarters).