Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He's Lived a Bit.And He Is Loved a Lot; ALAN NICHOL Brings You the Latest News from the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

He's Lived a Bit.And He Is Loved a Lot; ALAN NICHOL Brings You the Latest News from the Roots Music Scene in the Region

Article excerpt

Byline: ALAN NICHOL

T was back in the winter of 2006 the name Seasick Steve was introduced to the public at large in the UK.

IA slot on the New Year's Eve Hootenanny edition of Jools Holland's TV show made the real breakthrough for the much-travelled, Californiaborn Steven Gene Wold.

At the time, his second album, Dog House Music, received a huge sales boost and he has, as the expression goes, never looked back.

He later had three top-five albums, played the major European festivals, sold-out the Royal Albert Hall on several occasions and has been a regular guest on numerous TV/radio shows ever since.

In the process, he has introduced a whole new audience to the blues of Mississippi Fred McDowell and others. However, Steve was at pains to point-out that his life up to that careerchanging moment was, to him at least, normal. As he said of that initial exposure: "It made it sound like I was living under a bridge just before I went on the Jools Holland programme, negating 30 or 40 years of my life raising children. "Ever since then I've been trying to say, 'Hey, I was just a normal guy, y'know? Working normal jobs, just being a dad and a grandad.'" ."

He grew up in Oakland near San Francisco and had tried to play piano as a young child - his father played boogie-woogie style, without much success.

Undeterred, he managed to make more progress a couple of years later when he switched to guitar. Fortunately for him, he had an opportunity presented to him which few blues-influenced fans could possibly resist.

The Mississippi bluesman, K.C.Douglas, was employed as a mechanic in the nearby garage business of young Steve's grandfather.

Given that Douglas's Mercury Blues has been covered by the world and his uncle (or so it seems) the resulting lessons gave Steve not only a grounding in the primary American music form but also some instrumental techniques not taught in schools.

It also gave him some early ideas for making instruments out of redundant car parts like air-filters and hub caps. …

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