With one platinum and four gold records in the UK Seasick Steve might be the most popular performer you’ve never heard of. he’s probably fine with that. seasick doesn’t cater to fads or trends, he’s worked his brand of greasy gut-bucket blues throughout his career.
Today he releases “Hubcap Music,” his Third Man records debut produced by the man himself. the album features long-time drummer and frying pan virtuoso Dan Magnusson as well as John Paul Jones, Jack White, Luther Dickinson, Elizabeth Cook and Fats Kaplin. The record marks Seasick Steve’s second full-length on Third Man Records, and joins a blue series 7″ (“Write Me a Few Lines”) and a live, direct-to-acetate recording (Seasick Steve Live at Third Man Records) to make up his Third Man catalog.
Hubcap Music derives its title from Seasick’s 4-stringed Morris Minor guitar, fashioned from two Minor 1000 hubcaps and a garden hoe, and his second similarly made instrument using Hudson Terraplane hubcaps, given to him by Jack White. The Morris Minor guitar made its first appearance on the TV show “Top Gear,” and rivals Seasick’s Didley Bo for the title of baddest junk’strument ever to grace (and sell out) such stages as Royal Albert Hall, Manchester Theatre and Hammersmith Apollo Theaters.
The below cut, “Home,” features Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars fame on wailing slide guitar. This gritty stmopfest recalling the place there’s nowhere like gives you a sample for this release and well reflects Steve’s frenetic live performances he’s famous for.
Paste Magazine used to trend more toward No Depression Americana coverage than Spin-style indy-pop coverage that they’ve moved toward over the last couple of years. This may explain what they’re still in print and No Depression isn’t. But Paste has not forsaken the twang altogether. Paste’s Andy Whitman does a round-up of three alt.country releases to check out – The Believers — Lucky You, Dallas’ The Von Ehrics — Loaded and Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls – The Vain Hope of Horse.
REM made a surprise appearance at a Carnegie Hall tribute show last night featuring Calexico, Bob Mould, Rhett Miller, Vic Chesnutt And Elf Power, Dar Williams, olie Holland, Patti Smith and Darius Rucker (!)
New-Grass supergroup Nickel Creek’s singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins is preparing self-titled debut of songs penned during her time spent in L.A. Watkins’ self-titled solo debut features a wide range of collaborators for its 14 tracks, among them Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, Tom Petty keyboardist Benmont Tench, Gillian Welch and Davod Rawlings, as well as her old NC bandmates Thile and Watkins. Led Zep’s John Paul Jones (who beat his bandmate Plant down the Americana path when he produced Uncle Earl’s 2007 Waterloo, TN) produced the album in studio sessions in L.A. and Nashville. Sara Watkins hits stores April 7 on Nonesuch, with a national tour to follow. Nickel Creek went on “indefinite hiatus” in 2007.
More Tod Snider news: Snider’s new release The Excitement Plan (out June 9th on Yep Roc) and will feature Grammy-winning producer Don Was (Bob Dyan, Rolling Stones, Bonnie Raitt) and a guest appearance by Loretta Lynn. ‘The Excitement Plan’ is “an old gypsy term” Snider adopted from his father. He explains, “I know right now that times are hard for all of us and that new songs from a folk singer are not at the top of so many grocery lists but these twelve songs are different. These twelve songs can be part of your solution. Just give them a chance. Take them in. Use ’em to help you appreciate your girl if you still got one, and/or your job if you still got one. Trust them, trust me and I promise you as god is my witness sometime here in the next sixty to ninety days we will be layin ’em in the sweet peas.”
THE EXCITEMENT PLAN TRACK LIST
1. SLIM CHANCE
2. GREENCASTLE BLUES
3. AMERICA’S FAVORITE PASTIME
4. DOLL FACE
5. BRING ‘EM HOME
6. CORPUS CHRISTI BAY [by Robert Earl Keen]
7. THE LAST LAUGH
8. UNORGANIZED CRIME
9. BAREFOOT CHAMPAGNE
10. DON’T TEMPT ME featuring Loretta Lynn
11. MONEY, COMPLIMENTS, PUBLICITY (SONG NUMBER TEN)
12. GOOD FORTUNE
Snider will tour throughout the spring with highlights including June 11th at NYC’s The Bowery Ballroom (tickets on sale now), and his first performance at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival June 14th.