Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve, is an American blues musician, born in 1941. He plays cheap old beaten up guitars, highly personalised and often held together with duck tape, usually played in open tuning, bottle neck style. He wears working clothes including dungarees and John Deere cap and his songs are mostly autobiographical reflections on his rambling early life.
He was born in Oakland, California, and around fourteen, following abuse from his stepfather, left home to live rough on the road in Tennessee, Mississippi, and elsewhere. He travelled as a hobo on freight trains, looking for work as a farm labourer or other seasonal jobs.
In the Sixties he started performing with fellow musicians and knew Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, among others. In the late 1980s he worked as a session musician and studio engineer with many indie label artists including Kurt Cobain. He moved to Europe and, living in Paris, sometimes worked as a busker. Moving to Norway in 2001 he released his first album entitled ‘Cheap’ recorded with The Level Devils. His debut solo album, ‘Dog House Blues’, was released in 2006.
His breakthrough came with an appearance on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny BBC TV show on New Year’s Eve 2006. Since then he has performed at Glastonbury and many other festivals and venues across the UK, Europe and beyond. His music, despite its unapologetic retro style, continues to gain fans across the ages – indeed, his most enthusiastic supporters are young (under forty say).
Never ever go west when you know you should be heading south.
Never ever whisper when you know it’s time to shout.