Seasick Steve: You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks – review

(Play It Again Sam)

He's a no-nonsense kinda guy, is Seasick Steve: plain and literal, from his nickname down. The title of his fourth album sums it up lyrically: here are yet more songs about having little and needing less, the brevity of life and the joys of marriage. But what it lacks in linguistic poetry is amply compensated for in the vibrancy of Seasick's guitar-playing. Wielding his custom-made Morris Minor guitar (constructed from hubcaps) or the cigar-box guitar (take a guess), he wreaks a sound raw, gnarled and filthy. And when he quietens down, you really start to feel like you are being treated to a masterclass in American folk sounds, from the percussive yet melodic banjo country of Underneath a Blue and Cloudless Sky to Whiskey Ballad's gorgeous evocation of the fluid 30s blues of Mississippi John Hurt.


Maddy Costa

The GuardianTramp

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