SEASICK STEVE > Man From Another Time

Written by March 16th, 2010 at 7:00 am

seasicksteve

SEASICK STEVE

Man From Another Time

(RYKO)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

If you want, you can fixate on this grizzled old dude’s back story (he’s hoboed, hung with Joplin and Cobain), but Seasick Steve’s bluesy tunes would grab you even if he was a recent Harvard grad. His musical style, mostly slide guitar on an old ax, pitched somewhere between Skip James and Jon Spencer, is best served with a band. That means his rocking ode to a new John Deere tractor, “Big Green And Yeller,” hits just the right note of Americana. “Banjo Song,” though plain, sounds as authentic as something you might have heard at Gettysburg. Most of the album has a similar, low-fi appeal..

Not everything works so well. Steve probably should’ve deep-sixed the opening number, “Diddley Bo,” which, apparently is a high point of his live show. Here, it’s a bit corny and the singer tries too hard to be the ages-old bluesman. Especially, since he accomplishes this feat so effortlessly elsewhere. For instance, on the plaintive title song. Over a jumping rhythm, the sound of his 3 string geetar, this 69 year old newcomer sings, “Ain’t you got nothing better to do, than listen to a man out of time?” At that very moment? The answer is a resounding no.

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