On his long-awaited tenth record, Seasick Steve mixes up all of his much-loved ingredients to deliver a fresh new record that offers the perfect antidote for the troubled times in which we live. Isabelle Felton gives her verdict on the new album from the Country Blues icon.
Rumours have consistently surrounded Seasick Steve’s backstory, from tales of living on the streets, to being the lead singer of a disco band, and following the release of his tenth studio album Love & Peace, I have decided to add my own rumour to the mix: that Seasick Steve could make a cracking Country Blues album before he could walk. Love & Peace holds tight to the same bluesy sound of his very first, with a name that, according to the artist himself, felt right for these ‘crazy times’.
The album begins with twenty seconds of distorted voices before the ride kickstarts. I’d compare the album to a rollercoaster, however with the mellow sound and dirty Americana guitar, it feels less like a death-defying drop and more like one of those safari log rides. The album is classic Country Rhythm and Blues, merging beautifully with the past discography, which adds to the delight for the listener. Seasick Steve is a blast from the past, a reminder of when Blues and Americana was at its peak, and his gritty lyrics are what make his music popular on this side of the pond. The artist is often praised by fans for how he makes conveys a sense of authenticity to the experiences that he is singing about; so whether or not you believe the stories of his nomadic life, it can be agreed that Seasick Steve has enough charisma to charm his listeners into thinking that right is left and left is right.
‘As a whole, the album succeeds in showcasing Seasick Steve’s range while staying true to the genre of Country Blues.’
Although Steve has stated that he is unsure as to why he named the album after the first track Love & Peace, there is no denying that the title track is a highlight on the record, setting the tone for what is later to come, and helping to transport the listener to the deep south. Imagine sitting outside an old cabin in a rocking chair, tambourine in hand, looking out at a dusty desert filled with cactuses and tumbleweed – that’s the picturesque painting that the singer-songwriter conveys throughout the record. Another notable track, I Will Do For You, bathes in melancholy in comparison. The song is stripped down to just drums and Seasick Steve’s classic guitar and vocal work, the sorrowful sound being similar to the tone of Irish artist Hozier’s blues-inspired work.
As a whole, the album succeeds in showcasing Seasick Steve’s range while staying true to the genre of Country Blues. Although uncertainty surrounds his background, what is certain is that Love & Peace is just as quintessentially Seasick Steve as any of his other records.