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Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve, (born 1941) is an American blues musician, although he prefers to be called "a song and dance man". He plays guitars (mostly personalized), and sings, usually about his early life living rough and doing casual work.
Of this time he once said:
Hobos are people who move around looking for work, tramps are people
who move around but don't look for work, and bums are people who don't
move and don't work. I've been all three.
At one time, living in Paris, Wold made his living busking, mostly on the metro. After moving to Norway in 2001, Wold released his first album, entitled Cheap, recorded with The Level Devils (Jo Husmo on stand-up bass and Kai Christoffersen on drums) as his rhythm section. His debut solo album, Dog House Music was released by Bronzerat Records on 26 November 2006, after he was championed by an old friend, Joe Cushley, DJ on the Ballin' The Jack blues show on London radio station Resonance FM.
Breakthrough and subsequent career
Seasick Steve performing in 2009 at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London's Hyde Park.Wold made his first UK television appearance on Jools Holland's 'Annual Hootenanny' BBC TV show (broadcast on New Year's Eve 2006) where he performed a live rendition of "Dog House Boogie" on the 'Three String Trance Wonder' and the 'Mississippi Drum Machine' (see below). After that show his popularity exploded, as he explained in an interview:
“ I can't believe it, all of the sudden I'm like the cat's meow! ”
He was well received in the UK, winning the 2007 MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act and going on to appear at major UK festivals such as Reading, Leeds and Glastonbury. In 2007 he played more UK festivals than any other artist.
Wold toured early in 2008, playing in various venues and festivals in the UK. He was joined on stage by drummer Dan Magnusson, formerly of his backing band the Level Devils. KT Tunstall also dueted with Wold at one concert (Astoria, London, 24 January 2008). Wold also played many other festivals throughout the world in 2008, including Fuji Rock in Japan, East Coast Blues & Roots Music Festival in Australia (also in April 2008), and Roskilde in Denmark.
Wold's major-label debut, I Started Out With Nothin and I Still Got Most of it Left was recorded with Dan Magnusson on drums, was released by Warner Music on 29 September 2008 and features Ruby Turner and Nick Cave's Grinderman.
He has toured the UK extensively since 2007 being supported by Duke Garwood, Gemma Ray, The Sugars, Billie the Vision and the Dancers in January 2008, Amy LaVere in October 2008 ( Melody Nelson at the Brighton Dome on 7 October) and Joe Gideon & The Shark in January 2009. His tours in October 2008 and January 2009 were all sold out and included performances at the Royal Albert Hall, The Edinburgh Queens Hall, the Grand Opera House in Belfast, the Apollo in Manchester, the City Hall in Newcastle and the London Hammersmith Apollo.
Seasick Steve performing in 2009 at the Hard Rock Calling festival in London's Hyde Park.In 2009, Wold was nominated for a Brit Award in the category of International Solo Male Artist, That same year, BBC Four broadcast a documentary of Wold visiting the southern USA entitled Seasick Steve: Bringing It All Back Home. On 21 January, Wold hosted "Folk America: Hollerers, Stompers and Old Time Ramblers" at the Barbican in London, a show that was also televised and shown with the documentary on BBC Four as part of a series tracing American roots music.
Seasick Steve participated on Australian television show Spicks and Specks in April 2009, wearing a beaten up John Deere cap. Wold admitted to having enough money to finally buy a model 60 John Deere Tractor, and joked that he could now really hold up traffic, a reference to the joke of his 51 Chevy breaking down at a music festival and requiring a push from fellow musicians.
In an interview with an Australian magazine, Seasick Steve attributes much of his unlikely success to his cheap and weather-beaten guitar, 'The Trance Wonder' and reveals the guitar’s mojo might come from supernatural sources. “I got it from Sherman, who is a friend of mine down in Mississippi, who had bought it down at a goodwill store. When we were down there last time he says to me, ‘I didn’t tell you when you bought it off me, but that guitar used to be haunted’. I say, ‘What are you talking about, Sherman?’. He says, ‘There’s 50 solid citizens here in Como who’ll tell you this guitar is haunted. It’s the darnedest thing – we’d leave it over in the potato barn and we’d come back in and it would be moved. You’d put it down somewhere and the next morning you’d come back and it would have moved. When you took that guitar the ghost in the barn left’. He told me this not very long ago and I said to him, ‘Sherman! Why didn’t you tell me this before?’ and he said, ‘Well the ghost was gone – I didn’t want it around here no more!’”
On January 3, 2010, Seasick Steve appeared on the popular BBC motoring show Top Gear as the Star In A Reasonably Priced Car