July 12, 1999
Dewey Forrester. When I first heard the name, I thought I would be talking to an Allen Jackson cover artist, one who sits on the Georgia docks and plucks away at his guitar, singing vigorously in his charming southern drawl.
But Woodinville's Dewey Forrester is no such man. His latest CD, Original Works, features nine of his favorite easy-listening piano compositions. His sounds are comparable to those of John Tesh. But, unlike Tesh, Forrester is the "far-out" composer who praises the unique features of the Northwest through his inspirational music.
Songs like "Seattle Song" and "Dark Clouds Above" illustrate Western Washington's disquieting atmosphere. Forrester fell in love with the area, especially Woodinville and Redmond, ten years ago when he started traveling to the Northwest for business. With his wife, Kay, and two young children, Isaac and Hannah, he moved to Woodinville from Georgia in 1996.
Washington's nature inspired Forrester's compositions on Original Works. "Seattle Song," a lullaby, came to him one evening as he was driving his kids home, and a gorgeous sunset gleamed across the sky. Other songs, such as "Dark Clouds Above," are played in a minor key which correlates well with the sounds of thunder to foster a mood of grayness.
Forrester's love for music was born with his family back home in Georgia. Because his brothers and sisters were into music, he was motivated to begin playing the piano at age six. During the rock era of the '70s, his teenage years, Forrester turned to Elton John and Billy Joel for musical influence. Today, he spends time learning from their music. "They have a fantastic way of making songs with piano and lyrics, too," he says. His interest in music was also enhanced during this time when he began playing for a '70s-'80s rock band.
Forrester, who was recommended by the King County Arts Commision for the 2000-2001 Touring Arts Roster, thoroughly enjoys performing. "I have probably been accused of over-performing," he jokes.
Because he is nervous about the audience's reaction to his music, he plays with tremendous feeling. To further captivate his audience, he incorporates rhythm into his performances. "When I hear silence afterwards, I know I've got 'em."
When he is not performing or composing his music, fans can find the adventurous Forrester mountain-biking along the Redmond Watershed Trail or the Tolt Pipeline Trail. He also enjoys spending time with his children at Remlinger's and Marymoor Park.
His connection with children does not stop at Isaac and Hannah. Forrester, using his own equipment, produces CDs for children who want to share their music with their family and friends. "I make it affordable for the kids," he explains.
Currently, the Woodinville musician is working on a second album, which will feature 12 or 13 more songs. Forrester will be performing on the organ and piano and will be accompanied by a tenor, soprano, and some percussion sounds. Unlike Original Works, the new album will showcase a ragtime and southern feel.
In the long run, Forrester hopes to compose music for the film industry. Although he has not reached that goal, he is definitely on the right track. This summer, Forrester will be out in the Seattle sun (or rain), exposing his exceptional talent to Northwesterners. Who knows? One of them just might be a Hollywood producer searching for the right sound.
"That would be success for me," Dewey Forrester says, satisfied.
Forrester will perform at the Pacific NW Arts Fair on July 25 at 7 p.m. at Bellevue Square.