Singer-songwriter Forrest Hill introduces a new single, “Catch the Beat,” a track from his forthcoming fourth solo album, Only Love, releasing January 28.
Talking about the album, Forrest shares, “I started writing music for this album to help me deal with the anxiety I was feeling about work, isolation, growing old, and the trauma of Trump. I originally wrote a lot of lyrical verses that were pretty dark on the surface. These became the textural backbone for a lot of the songs, Later, as I sat with the words, I wrote new choruses to try and infuse the lyrics with some light and hope.”
More streamlined and glossy than his prior albums, Only Love is a collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Christopher Thomas and features the lush voice of Olivia Clayton on harmony and backing vocals.
Forrest’s musical career spans two phases or segments. During the 1980s he co-founded Boston-based funk-rock band Judy’s Tiny Head, which released a pair of EPs and a hit single, “My Car.” The band shared the stage with the Violent Femmes, Run DMC, Deborah Harry, Paul Young, and Aimee Mann.
After earning his Ph.D. from MIT, Forrest moved to NorCal, where he played in local coffee houses. His wife encouraged him to record an album, which he did, followed by two more albums, and soon, the fourth, Only Love.
A portion of the lyrics of “Catch the Beat” was written in the ‘80s, when Forrest was in Nicaragua. The recent Black Lives Matter protests caused Forrest to relive the lyrics of the song.
“I felt like they were an apt description of the struggles going on today,” he says. Revisiting the song, he re-wrote the chorus.
“Oh baby now catch the beat / There’s love in the air and heat on the streets / You can’t stop a fire, when the sparks start to fly / Oh baby now catch the beat / Love is the one that will set us all free /The road is long but the flame must never die.”
“Catch the Beat” opens a tasty acoustic guitar reminiscent of Paul Simon. A gentle, finessed rhythm imbues the tune with an alluring cadence as Forrest’s evocative voice infuses the lyrics with buoyant energy.
The feel and flow of the harmonics is optimistic and suffused with tantalizing accents of coloration, making it an easy earworm.
Forrest explains, “The song deals with the power of faith, love, and justice to change the world. I see these struggles as transformative, not only on a societal level but on a personal level as well.”