Seasick Steve is back with his sixth offering, Hubcap Music, which, he explains on a handwritten press release complete with coffee stain, is titled due to his latest hand-made musical creation, a guitar made out of two hubcaps and a garden hoe. His oth- er instruments include the infamous “three string tri-wonder” and the “Mississippi stomp box” which were both featured on his break- through performance of ‘Dog House’ during Later with Jools Hooland in 2007. From here, Steve was catapulted to late-life fame with “I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left…” -a characteristically wry understatement; he’s worked on Hubcap with John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, as well as Jack White.
The album maintains Steve’s down-to-earth vibe commencing with ‘Down on the Farm’, complete with tractor and some classic pow- er-blues which can’t help to put a smile on the face of even those in the Cherwell offices, whether ironic or not. The influence of Jones can be felt with some memorable and well- delivered bass lines, especially on this open- ing track, complemented by Dan Magnusson’s stick-work, who’s affectionately described as “still banging on the drums and still banging down the wine”.
The problem with Hubcap centres around two main, and key, aspects of the album’s conception and production. First and foremost, it is simply far too produced and, even though Steve claims to have recorded the album from “old fashioned tape to vinyl” tracks, just sound too well worked out for a true blues record. It is almost like a cheesy 80s synth interpretation of blues rather than the true product. Steve seems to have fallen into the Mumford & Sons trap, whether pres- surized by record company bosses or not, of finding a formula and sticking to it. The only problem is that we’ve all heard it before.
Download: ‘Over You’ Released April 29th