Roy Forbes (photo submitted).

Roy Forbes loses his sight, but finds inspiration

The singer/songwriter and radio host performs in Red Deer next week

For singer/songwriter and radio host Roy Forbes it was a case of one door closing and another opening.

Although many of his fans don’t realize it, Forbes has been completely blind since the end of 2015, due to a freak accident at his home.

He’d been reorganizing boxes of Christmas decorations on a high shelf when one container slipped, hitting him in his left eye.

Forbes, who had already lost the vision in his right eye due to glaucoma at the age of six, had been having problems with his left eye since 1991, when its retina first detached.

The trauma from the falling box was the final blow.

“I’m legally blind now,” said Forbes.

The host of CKUA’s Roy’s Record Room admitted this “stupid” accident forced him to slow down for a while to adjust to a new reality. “My biggest obstacle was coming to terms with it.”

But he soon realized “I’ve got too much to do to let it stop me,” so he resumed life as a touring musician — with the help of his partner, Lydia, “who’s become my roadie.”

If there’s a bright side to this story it’s that Forbes, who performs at Red Deer’s Elks Lodge on Friday, April 28, has turned into a prolific songwriter.

“Right now I’m in total writing mode. I’ve got eight new songs,” said the 64-year-old B.C. resident, who’s eager to test out a few of these tunes in front of a Red Deer audience.

Most of his new material is about overcoming adversity, but it’s “only obliquely about my situation. The (songs) could be about anybody who’s going through a hard time,” said the singer, who wants to remind listeners to “grab the joy in your heart and don’t let go.”

His own happiness over the last year sprung from having a supportive network of friends and relations — and his music. “My music pulled me through, as music will. It’s a healer,” said Forbes.

As an intuitive guitar player, he feels being blind hasn’t altered the way he plays.

The performer, formerly known by his nickname Bim, will deliver a mixture of blues and country with his soulful voice. Forbes anticipates playing original songs spanning his 40-year career. Some of the tunes will be from his live albums, Strikin’ Matches (2014) and Almost Overnight (1995).

As host of Roy’s Record Room, the Dawson Creek, B.C.-native admitted he also looks forward to “prowling” through Red Deer’s second-hand shops for old vinyls while he’s in town.

“It feeds me, discovering that stuff… I’ve had a record in my hand since before I could walk!”

For more information or tickets to his 8 p.m. show, please visit www.centralmusicfest.com.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

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