Once upon a time an annoying dwarf with a piano called Jools Holland introduced “The Dog Himself” to us, the British public. At first glance it was just some bloke with dungarees, a beard and a guitar. But as soon as that dude began to play all of Mr. Holland’s “wonderful!” and “Superb!” guests that night became irrelevant.
Since that event in Seasick Steve‘s life he has been on the up and up. After the incredible, almost mainstream, success of his second album ‘Dog House Music‘ and numerous sell out gigs, he has gone from having a cult fan base to nation wide acceptance from critics and new fans alike.
The main tale told on with this release is focused on his days of travelling and finally coming to terms to settling down after a life of excess and adventure. Known as a traveller for a period of his life ‘Prospect Line‘ documents Steve’s time hopping trains and waiting on his free ride. The beautiful ballad ‘Walking Man‘ boasts the line “my name is Steve and I’m your stayin’ man”. Another indication that the once hard to pin down hobo is now ready to find a place and call it home.
Another recurring theme on this album is booze and lots of it. Songs like ‘Thunderbird‘ are a salute to the man’s days of drinking, drinking and drinking some more. “If you’re gonna sing a song about drinking wine…..you should drink some wine.” I think that says it all really. The man needs no excuse to enjoy a jug or two of cheap wine.
Seasick Steve is a fantastic raconteur. Every song on ‘I Started Out…‘ tells a story from his past. Even the most pointless of tales sound like good times. For example, the song ‘Chiggers’ is about a type of insect that bites you on the legs. Simple and pointless but it’s the way Steve sings and plays with such heart that makes an otherwise boring tale enjoyable.
Although the slightly polished nature of this Warner Bros. release smoothes the edges of his sound a little, Steve still manages to give you that raw, dirty, Mississippi feel to his music. Rather than sticking to the blues mould he progresses to more of a full band sound with Swedish drummer and tour mate Dan Magnusson. He is not the only dude joining Steve on this record. Nick Cave and his Grinderman posse jam on ‘Just Like A King‘ with fantastic results. Seasick has made a few friends on his journeys as of late.
Seasick Steve has lived the life so many blues and country musicians could only dream of for inspiration. A man who has had to contend with an abusive stepfather, a man who left home at thirteen, who has been locked up, homeless, suffered heart attacks and hobo’d his away across most states of the ol’ U.S of A. and that’s just scratching the surface. Seasick is a man who’s music you can believe. No bullshit gimmicks. Simply put, he’s an enigma of a dude with a gob full of stories him and his guitar are itching to tell you.