Norway-based blues hobo Seasick Steve is getting plenty fine attention in Britain, outshining the big Celebes at many an occasion. Last night he won Mojo Magazine’s prestigious prize for best breakthrough, reports Norwegian Daily Dagbladet.
It is Mojo’s readers who have voted Steve to the top of the ranking, at the expense of many more established names and main stream big sellers. The big break for Steve was his performance on Jools Holland’s new-year special TV-show half a year ago. Amy Winehouse and Lilly Allen were no competition for Steve’s inspired performance and in the following months he became one of Britain’s favourite independent artists, with record download figures and his album Dog House Music reaching number eight on BBC’s independent charts.
In 2007 he has played numerous gigs and performed live on several radio shows hosted by some of Britain’s musical sages. The recurring verdict is that Steve reissues the blues in its primal, gritty form of vagabond escapism; blues in its essence the way it has always fascinated British musicians and audiences. He’s been called the most genuine blues man to come around for decades, a character brought forth by the blues itself, rather than the other way around.
So who is this character?
-“The dog hisself,” that’s Steve Wold, a howlin’ and a playin’ that three string trance wonder –his guitar- and keeping house in the Norwegian town of Notodden. There he created and ran the now legendary Juke Joint studio for six years, bringing to Norway’s blues capital some truly vintage equipment he had collected over the years in America, and not least that special sense of genuine recording methods and authentic atmosphere. Before relocating in Norway Steve had been a studio man in Olympia, Washington and elsewhere, and before that he spent many years on the road playing; sometimes with blues legends, sometimes for food.
After six years in the studio in Notodden he saw the time fit to release his first record; a transcription of his long life as a travelling blues hobo.
The result was Dog House Music; a record met with critical applause in blues circles, and catching on like wild fire among both the independent kids –who’re always after anything genuine- as well as among the “truth-seeking” blues minds of older British musicians, radio hosts and music magazines.
TimeOut wrote of his record:” So awesomely authentic a chunk of muddily Mississippian, broken and bruised, tell-it-like-it-is blues that it makes Hasil Adkins sound like Robbie Williams. 13 touchingly rough-arsed spirituals from the legendary former hobo.”
Now Steve’s career is really on a roll and his summer schedule is packed with big gigs. He will play now less than three shows at the world leading Glastonbury festival and will also appear at many other festivals in Britain, Norway and continental Europe throughout the summer and early fall.
He strikes a chord that never goes out of fashion, and there is no end to the ride he is now on, one would think, as he has a life full of stories and decades on highways and byways as a travelling blues man to dig from.
Hear some Dog house music here: