Observations: Seasick Steve: Stranded by modern life
Friday 20 November 2009
Steve Wold, the American bluesman better known as Seasick Steve, is dressed in his usual garb of check shirt and trucker's cap. The title of his recently released fourth album, Man From Another Time, neatly sums up Wold's current musical status, and goes some way towards explaining his success.
When he first appeared on our screens on Jools Holland's Hootenanny in 2006, the show that effectively launched his career, Wold – a former hobo – was like no other musician around, an unvarnished, unaffected troubadour with a beaten-up guitar and a twinkle in his eye. Within a matter of weeks he was booked in to perform at just about every major British festival, while sales of Doghouse Blues, his second LP, went through the roof.
For Wold, the new album's title points to something more personal – his feeling of displacement in the modern world. "Man From Another Time is about how weird I feel walking down the street," he explains. "Somehow I got stuck 40 years ago. Everything I think about and surround myself with comes from then. Like in my car, I got an eight-track player in it. I never had a cassette player and certainly not a CD player. I don't like new things. Now is the best time of my life, for real, but if I could have this time and move it back, then it would be a lot better for me." Wold sloshes whisky into his tea. If he is suspicious of the music industry, he is nevertheless thankful to the fans who have kept him financially afloat for the past three years. "I don't have to worry about how I'm gonna pay my rent next month, or where I'm going to get my next job," he smiles. "Three years ago no one had heard of me. Now I got people paying money to come see me. It's a goddamn miracle".
Man From Another Time is out now on Warner
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