Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

SEASICK STEVE

MAN FROM ANOTHER TIME

2010-05-07

Steve Wold a/k/a “Seasick” Steve has one of those resumes that seems made up by a marketing firm looking to promote a rags to riches story: He left home at 13, hopped freight trains, worked as a carnie, a cowboy and a migrant farmer, busked on street corners, spent three decades on a succession of marriages with a passel of kids, opened a studio and recorded with punk and grunge bands, had a heart attack and recuperated by recording a disc that went on to sell 200,000 units in the UK. He then released a second disc that sold even more and soon found himself playing the storied Royal Albert Hall. The cool thing is that the story is true and his music rocks! Like Watermelon Slim, this storied resume gives Steve a rich palette of personal experiences from which to draw his songs. "Big Green and Yeller" sounds like a classic blues double entendre, but it really is just about a John Deer Tractor. "Wenatchee" tells the tale of a migrant farmer while "Happy (To Have a Job)" is how a busking musician gets through the day. The title cut finds Steve worrying that by looking at the past he’ll turn into the kind of “boring old fart” that used to dampen his younger days. "That’s All" is a prisoner’s dream of an elusive freedom, a sentiment repeated in "Never Go West" where he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. With a vocal delivery somewhere between Ry Cooder and Omar Dykes and a penchant for hill country blues grooves, Steve plays with the skill of his many years but with the energy of musicians a fraction of his age. Most of the cuts are mid to up-tempo and hit hard despite the spare instrumentation of just Steve’s rattlesnake guitar and Dan Magnuysson’s percussion. It just doesn’t get much hotter than on "Diddley Bo" which features the Bo Diddley beat and razor sharp one string grooves. Change ups include the forlorn "The Banjo Song", the simmering "Dark" and the gentle "Just Because I Can (CSX)" where he takes a last chance to hop a freight train and ride for free. Oh, did I mention that I dig this disc? Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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