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Seasick Steve

Review: Seasick Steve – ‘A Trip, A Stumble, A Fall Down On Your Knees’

Man, I really love Seasick Steve! I remember almost twenty years ago now when he seemed to fall, fully formed and full of gnarly, moonshine swigging cool, onto our screens on Later…It looked like he was playing a guitar that he’d accidentally reversed his truck over and was pounding his foot on a stomp box which might as well of had alligator teeth marks carved into the side. He plays it all loose and growling with heart, authenticity and rough-round-the-edges rawness that is infectious. He’s great when playing alone with his stomp box but when accompanied by the wild man that is Dan Magnusson on the drums, they are on another level.

I devoured ‘Dog House Music’ (2006) and played ‘I Started Out with Nothin’ and I’ve Still got Most of it Left’ (2008) to death. To be totally honest though, after that I moved on and have only briefly checked in and checked out over the years. So, how is he sounding now?

Instantly, ‘A Trip, A Stumble, A Fall Down on your Knees’ feels like classic Seasick Steve with all of that wailing electro-blues that makes you wish you were on a road trip through the southern states with endless miles of highway stretching out in front of you.

The first two tracks ‘Move to the Country’ and ‘Internet Cowboys’ are both infused with that pure energy and feel that takes me straight back to ‘Dog House Music’. I love his chugging, distorted guitar riffs, the rumble of the slide guitar, the lap steel’s twang and the organ’s ecclesiastical swing. I’m not totally sold on his heart-on-his sleeve lyrics warning about the perils of the internet, ‘You got to move out to the country, Leave your phone behind, It’s quiet out in the country, Time to get offline. They call it the web, They call it the web, Their design…’ – I can’t see the Ivor Novello committee calling anytime soon – but I can’t fault him for his message. Keep it simple, put your phone down and enjoy life as it should be lived without all of those extra, clickbait pop-up distractions. For me he redeems himself when he sings ‘Get yourself a record player or maybe a guitar. Spend a little time with yourself, try and work out who you are.’ How can you argue with that? The man certainly talks sense.

The next tune, San Francisco Sound, is a much more polished, almost a BB King style of blues. It’s more showy than the two before with a cleaner sound but comes as decent departure from the previous tracks and mixes it up. This is followed by ‘A Trip and a Stumble’, a very chilled and graceful tune asking us all to be kinder and more thoughtful – we all make mistakes, we all trip and stumble, so let’s just be there for each other and give each other a break. Steve’s voice in this is genuinely soulful and rich as he evokes a deep-south preacher who certainly isn’t riding his first rodeo. I think I might have shoehorned that last one in a bit, but you get the idea.

If at this point you like what you hear then you’ll love the rest. There’s nothing revolutionary on this record but then it was never set out to be so – it’s just heartfelt blues that leaves you feeling good. If I was in hospitality I’d pair it with a cold beer, a smoking BBQ and the late afternoon of a sun drenched day when the shadows are beginning to stretch across the grass. Thank you Steve, it’s been a while but I’ve very much enjoyed sitting down and listening to you again.

3.5 rating
3.5/5
Total Score
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