When Seasick arrived on our shores, appearing on Jools Holland’s 2007 New Year show, he was an intriguing novelty. He had charm, a raw blues sound and no fancy stage equipment – just his voice, the “Mississippi drum machine” (essentially just a box) and makeshift guitar with three strings. It was marvellous to watch and listen to. Nine years on, he’s still creating music with the same passion and with more funds in his pocket. But has the attractive quality remained intact?
You pretty much know what you’re going to get with a Seasick Steve album by now. No nonsense blues rock played on a guitar made out of bits and pieces. His basic DIY setup is what makes him who he is, as well as his unique story, but it has its limitations. Because of this, his new album is much like the rest of his discography for the most part. He even “revisits” an old song for the second time, recording a new version of ‘Walkin’ Man’ which differs little from the original.
Seasick’s charm lies in his absence of embellishment.
We essentially have two albums in one here. The first ten songs are classic Seasick blues rock with their fair share of distortion and blues lead flourishes. The other ten songs are stripped-back acoustic numbers. The soothing ‘Gentle On My Mind’ and the slide guitar of ‘Gonna Get There’ display a simplicity that suits him. Sure, a successful career gives creative freedom to an artist to try new things, but Seasick’s charm lies in his absence of embellishment.
This is another standard addition to Steve’s canon with plenty of fan-pleasing familiarity. I think this album would have benfitted from taking the best five from each half and intertwining them to create a stronger and varied 10-track whole.
By Will Hunt
Same old Seasick Steve
An album of two parts
Abundance of tracks weakens the album
Watch Seasick Steve perform ‘Gentle On My Mind’ below:
|1. Keeping That Horse Between You And The Ground|
|2. Walkin’ Blues|
|4. Gypsy Blood|
|5. Shipwreck Love|
|7. What A Thang|
|8. Grass Is Greener|
|9. Don’t Take It Away|
|10. Lonely Road|
|11. Hard Knocks|
|12. Maybe I Might|
|13. Gentle On My Mind|
|15. Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me|
|16. Walkin’ Man|
|17. Southern Biscuits|
|18. Gonna Get There|
|19. Signed D.C.|
|20. I’m So Lonsesome|