Steven Gene Wold has pretty much seen it all. For a man in his early seventies he shows no inhibitions in his creative approach to music with the title of his current album ‘Hubcap Music’ aptly titled because of the guitar he favours is made from hub caps and a garden hoe. He himself is an extension of his music. Both appear gritty, brash and throughout there is a piercing zest. ‘Hubcap Music ‘is his sixth full-length release and largely conforms to the same compound of previous releases. It’s an album of hardened country/blues music that bites back, but not everyone will want to feel the pinch.
Launching with revving engines Down On The Farm pays homage to the album title and his fondness of redefined garden utensils forming musical instruments. Balancing scuffed up guitar and drums it’s an unsurprisingly indicator of what’s to be expected from the rest of the album. It’s a loutish opener that mirrors too many similarities with Freedom Road to justify anything distinct albeit a catchy swing.
The underlying lyrical sentiments that Seasick Steve professes are rife, however much they are layered and masked with steaming drums, occasional mandolins, and grizzly bluesy guitar playing. Tracks such as Keep On Keeping On and Self Sufficient Man are heavy stompers illustrating a surfeit of hardship and adversity. The latter acts almost as a short autobiographical lament of his youth professing “I’m a self-sufficient man, been taking care of myself since I was 13 years old.” Yet Hope and Purple Shadows shy away from the same repetitive recipe that often dogs Seasick Steve and can be a continual critique of his previous five albums. The former retains the bluesy guitar plucking but is a muted and more delicate track where his vocals take precedence, a rare occasion where they are heard more extensively. Purple Shadows is dictated by a pedal steel, a light, melancholy and wistful listen.
Coast Is Clear is the last full track of ‘Hubcap Music’. From the beginning it injects vehemence and bounce, straying away from the commonly associated rough and ready sound. Utilizing organs and horns it is the track which shines brightest and combined with backing vocals sees an uncharacteristic arrangement pay dividends rewarded in a new proposition. While ‘Hubcap Music’ is unlikely to captivate a new audience or leave them massively enthused, it should no doubt mean fans of this veteran are conciliated.
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