Love & Peace
One doesn’t come to Seasick Steve for nuance—especially on Love & Peace: Life’s short, time’s ticking (“Clock Is Running”), we’ve gotta look after each other (“Love & Peace”), but in the end you can’t count on nobody but yourself (“Church of Me”). The guitars buzz like power transformers, the grooves turn over like homebuilt engines, and in general his 11th official solo album sounds like the work of men who take their coffee with motor oil and floss with barbed wire, or at least did back when they had teeth. But amidst the stomping and hollering and old-blues-dude grizzledness is a sense of poetry that belies the roughness of the music: Witness an image of the morning dew on “Carni Days” as the circus packs up and moves on, or how neatly Steve wraps up the outlaw’s paradox on “Church of Me” (“I ain’t no believer/But I surely believe”). Yes, he makes life look simple. But as an artist finishing out his seventh decade on earth (or is it his eighth? A former hobo never tells), you wonder if maybe he’s onto something.