Release Date: Apr 29, 2013
Record label: Polydor
Genre(s): Folk, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Back in 2009, Seasick Steve released an album called Man From Another Time, a perfectly apt title for a record full of dirt-ridden, diesel-fueled (mostly) solo blues tunes. Since his first independently released LP in 2006, the enigmatic character has built a sonic identity around performing on junkyard, often handmade instruments while telling stories about his early years working obscure and manual jobs. This year’s offering—named after a four-string Morris Minor guitar constructed from two hubcaps and a garden hoe—updates much of Seasick Steve’s rural ritual with modern nuances.
Making his way to the big time in 2006, Seasick Steve‘s story is one of music’s greatest tales. After suffering abuse at the hands of his stepfather, he spent some of his early years living rough, then going on to a life of busking and occasional studio work. He’s not the first to travel along this road; Meatloaf, believe it or not, was also homeless.
Two years after last album ‘You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks’, beardy Californian bluesman Seasick Steve is back, and this time he’s made an instrument out of two hubcaps and a garden hoe. You’d have thought the 71-year-old two-time Brit-nominated major-label artist might have made a trip to Denmark Street to get himself a proper guitar by now, but the purring pickup truck at the outset and conclusion remind us just how down-at-heel and blue-collar he really is. Questions of authenticity are irrelevant when tracks such as ‘Down On The Farm’ deliver the kind of boogie-woogie twattery Shania Twain would have her writing team skinned for.
From the distorted fuzz of ‘Self Sufficient Man’ to the Jack White-style grunge of ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ and ‘Down On The Farm’, ‘Hubcap Music’ cuts a mighty fine groove. No doubt helped along by the addition of Jack White himself, alongside former collaborator John Paul Jones and The Black Crowes’ Luther Dickenson. Having already performed live with each of them, Seasick Steve (aka Steven Wold) soon recruited the musicians to lay down a set of recorded collaborations.