- Artist: Seasick Steve
- Title: You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
- Released: 2011
- Format: Digital Download
- Genre: Americana/Blues
- Beverage of Choice: Whisky Sour
Seasick Steve is living proof that age is just a number and talent will find a way. You can read up on his colorful and myth-making life story here but, really, the music is enough.
This album is his fifth release and demonstrates without a doubt that, yes, an old dog can figure out new ways of doing things. The records leading up to this offering are great examples of quintessentially American music with elements of folk, country and blues delivered in a laid-back and low-key style and are well worth checking out. What makes YCTAODNT so refreshing is, paradoxically, the use of studio technology and guest artists like John Paul Jones to produce a set of music that, while still gritty and honest, is also detailed, sonically loaded and emotionally satisfying.
The opener “Treasures” is powered by a hill country sound with simple box guitar, banjo and fiddle that, combined with Steve’s signature growl, is effective in producing a melancholy that only great, authentic country music can induce. The lyrics are part of his mythology of being on the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ looking across the divide to the ‘reglar folks’. A beautifully simple song that is instantly engaging in it’s soulful delivery and ambiance.
While nominally a ‘blues’ album, the music is actually blues-based with elements of rock, folk, country and soul thrown into the melting pot, stirred and poured out in globs of slide guitar-driven wonderment. Blowing the roof off with the title track, “Back in the Doghouse“, “Party” and “Don’t Know Why She Love Me but She Do“, the album is mellowed out with ditties, sing-alongs and trad blues songs like “Burnin’ Up“, “Whiskey Ballad” and “It’s a Long, Long Way“.
“Have Mercy on the Lonely” is a country-blues stomp, “Underneath a Blue and Cloudless Sky” is a banjo-fueled jig, as simple and delightful as can be and “Days Gone” goes into overdrive, delivering the goods for anyone with an ear for modern electric blues ( Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa and company).
Short and sweet this week; I want you to just jump into the deep end with one and enjoy the album as it unfolds in real time. Have fun and let me know your favorite track in the comments if you get a chance.