Since his breakthrough third album, Seasick Steve has provided the music scene with a breath of fresh air upon each and every release. His down-to-Earth demeanour and do-it-yourself style give his music an undeniably raw and creative flare, making him one of the most genuine voices on the scene. He may have started out with nothing, but now, twelve years after his breakthrough, he really has something to show for his hard work. His new album, Love & Peace is a satisfying mix of all his much-loved and distinguishing features, combining elements of blues, rock, Americana and folk – all delivered in Seasick Steve’s unique style.
Seasick Steve has provided the music scene with a breath of fresh air upon each and every release.
Produced and written by Steve himself, this album is heavily personal and charmingly makeshift. Although the majority was recorded in Los Angeles at Studio 606 and at East West Studio, some of it was recorded in his barn, which really goes to show that you often don’t need a high production value to produce something of high quality. The album features Steve’s long-term drummer Dan Magnusson (a.k.a. Crazy Dan), as well as guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and harmonica player Malcolm Arison (The BossHoss).
Drawing inspiration from Delta blues upon the creation of Love & Peace, Seasick Steve used his creative freedom to explore deeper ideas such as the state of modern society and his emotions in the most optimistic way he could. The album is introduced by its title track 'Love & Peace'. This energetic track, filled with a tight drum beat, funky riff, and idealistic lyrical content, is a strong start to the record, leaving the listener hopeful for the future which is essential during the uncertain times we live in. The record then moves onto some more energetic blues anthems with offerings such as 'Regular Man', 'Clock is Running', and 'Toes in the Mud' which effortlessly flow into their respective neighbouring tracks. Like I mentioned earlier, the album appears to be influenced by early Delta blues but with a refreshing modern twist. For instance in 'Carni Days', Steve’s guitar work is undoubtedly similar to that of Robert Johnson’s but he spices classic blues up by using a more contemporary melody, which is a unique and interesting attribute. The more stripped down and relaxed offerings to the album include “I Will Do For You” and his folk-blues inspired finale track “Mercy”, the latter of which feature powerful vocals from Steve and make for a magnificent end to the album. However, sandwiched in the middle of the album, is my personal favourite track on the album, “Church of Me”, which begins as a low energy lazy blues ballad before erupting into a cacophony of instrumentals, including a very interesting harmonica solo.
Love and Peace is heavily personal and charmingly makeshift.
Despite Love & Peace having some notable moments that will one day find themselves on his greatest hits; there are times where the tracks become repetitive and even indecipherable from one another. That aside, the album is saved by its more distinguishable content and overall is a great addition to Seasick Steve’s already renowned discography.