Even the revelations that the man who was born in Oakland in 1941 or 1951 had been rather elastic with the truth, vis-à-vis his supposed hobo past and that he’d been the lead singer in French and Dutch disco bands, failed to tarnish his Seasick Steve character.
The self-produced Love & Peace shows why. For all the tangled webs Wold/Leach has weaved, his music remains an earthly delight.
Always consolidating, he sticks to his regular-man formula (there’s even a song called Regular Man): grizzled vocals, minimal backing that owes as much to Howlin’ Wolf as to White Stripes, and that sense that he’s strumming on your porch, right now.
But he’s broadening his horizons: Carni Days is a sweet ballad, and the lengthy Church Of Me is as subtle and as layered as he’s ever been. He might be a slippery customer, but his music couldn’t be more reliable.