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Design By Humans
Published On: Sun, Apr 1st, 2012

Seasick Steve: Walkin’ Man – The Best of Seasick Steve

Seasick Steve
Walkin’ Man: The Best of Seasick Steve
(Rhino Records)

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If there is one musician who has paid his dues, it’s Seasick Steve. Steven Gene Wold has been a laborer, a drifter, a carnie, a busker, a hobo, and much more. Though he’s been playing for decades, it’s only been within the past decade that he’s found notoriety, particularly across the pond in England.

However, Seasick Steve’s sound is purely American, as is demonstrated in Walkin’ Man, his first compilation album. Armed with a gritty history and more than a bit of determination, Steve’s turned his luck around while retaining the integrity of his roots. Many of his instruments are missing strings or assembled from cheap parts, such as his one-stringed diddley bow played with a screwdriver in the place of a slide.

Walkin’ Man doesn’t feel like it demonstrates the progression of a career because Steve’s sound is already so refined. He’s both polished and rough around the edges at the same time, delivering his gritty breed of bluesy rock without apology. Tracks like “Diddley Bo” and “Don’t Know Why She Love Me But She Do” could hit the airwaves of any classic rock station, giving acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd a run for their money.

Songs like “Treasures,” on the other hand, are surprisingly delicate with banjo and violin parts. “Happy Man” features brilliantly soulful backing vocals that highlight how much classic rock owes to rhythm and blues. And Seasick Steve even knows his way around a crowd pleaser; “Walkin’ Man” is simple enough lyrically that you’ll find yourself singing along before you even realize you know the words.

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Seasick Steve: Walkin’ Man – The Best of Seasick Steve