Seasick Steve's eighth studio album, Keepin' The Horse Between Me And The Ground, has been released today, through his own There's A Dead Skunk Records, distributed by Balance / UMA.
Seasick Steve has come a very long way in 10 years, with millions of albums sold and a Brit Award nomination. His performance on Jools Holland's 2006 New Year's Eve Hootenanny, was an object lesson in the power of raw emotion, roughly sculpted into words and music, and conveyed with the minimum of complexity. And it was that performance that put him on the path to becoming the powerful live force that he and drummer Dan Magnusson have become today.
Discussing the title of his new album, Steve says, 'Well that's an old sayin' and, well yeah, it's about riding for sure but the song is more -bout keepin' your wits about you. -Cos it's a rocky road out there, this life. And it's kinda a good idea to keep your eyes open and watch how u go, and at the same time doin' it without fear."
This album is a celebration of being alive, still going strong, and loving every minute of it. First single Grass is Greener is a great example of that optimism and upbeat approach. Steve explains, 'Been the story of my life, it's always gonna be a little bit better round the bend! Well at least it's kept me optimistic, and hell, look where it's got me. Pretty green now! Wow."
Keepin' The Horse Between Me And The Ground has Steve in the saddle and holding the reins, so what you get here is a good ol' Seasick mix of boogie, blues, rock, Americana, folk-music, and as he says, 'I am having the best time of my life right now, and it's been one helluva ride!'
Keepin' The Horse… was again recorded in his front room in the countryside where he lives. "I got really good, old equipment - all the stuff I use is from the '50s and '60s, old valve equipment and tape machines. If you know how to use it, it's very easy to use. If I'm mic'ing Dan's bass drum and I don't like how it sounds, I don't go fooling with the EQ, I go move the microphone till it sounds right. It's a real organic kinda process, it's how old records were made, and I don't know how to make a record any other way."
As with his last album, Sonic Soul Surfer, Steve isn't content with just playing one style of music. After 10 years, he knows that he has earned the artistic freedom to record whatever he wants! That seems to be what fans have come to expect, an honest and real approach to whatever music comes out of when he sits down to play.
"I just want to put on it what I feel like. I don't think about what other people think I should do, 'cos I don't have time for that bullshit: if a country song can sit next to a blues song, next to a bluegrass or a rock song, they all gotta go together in one collage, 'cos I don't wanna make all them records separately!"
The result is a remarkable record that shows depth and a rich diversity in Steve's performances and songwriting. As he says, he is having the time of his life, and it's the energy of putting new songs on record and the electricity of playing live that continue to drive him.
Keepin' The Horse Between Me And The Ground, released today through There's A Dead Skunk Records, distributed by Balance/Universal Music Australia.