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article imageOld dogs can learn new tricks

By Alexander Baron     May 31, 2011 in Entertainment
London - A short biography of Seasick Steve, who at the age of 70 is making music and wowing audiences like never before after his "discovery" in 2006.
In the pre-Internet age there was a saying - still true to some extent – that for a British band or artist to truly “arrive” it was necessary to make it big in America, either with a successful tour, a Billboard hit, or by cracking the enormous American market in some other way. Occasionally though, it happens the other way around. Steve Wold was born at Oakland, California in 1941, but it was not until New Year’s Day 2006 that he can be said to have arrived, when he appeared on Jools Holland’s Hootenanny programme here on BBC Television. Since then he has been making up for lost time in a big way, picking up the 2007 MOJO Award for Best Breakthrough Act, and playing major festivals, including Glastonbury.
Today, he appeared on the BBC’s Breakfast news programme where he gave presenters Bill Turnbull and Kate Silverton the lowdown on his home-made instruments, and how he got his (somewhat off-putting) stage name Seasick Steve. And to promote his new album, of course. This has the misleading title You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks, and features a slightly younger big name on bass, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin, who was born January 3, 1946. New tricks or not, this “old dog” is certainly game, and revelling in both life and touring.
Steve’s early career was not entirely unsuccessful; after leaving home at a young age, he lived an itinerant lifestyle working at various jobs before developing his musical talents, touring and performing with blues musicians and others. His first solo album pre-dates his breakthrough, and he wasn't unknown on this side of the Pond, having lived in both Paris - where he busked on the Metro - and Norway, where he still has a home. He also supported Hayseed Dixie at the King's Head, Belfast in 2005.
It remains to be seen how much longer he will continue to tour, but creatively he is surely at his peak. In this connection it is worth bearing in mind not only that he is 15 years younger than Chuck Berry, who is still touring, but that another artist –the type who paints - Grandma Moses, did not start her career until she was over 70, had her first solo exhibition at the age of eighty, and died in 1961 aged one-hundred-and-one.
He may be turning 70, but clearly Seasick Steve is living proof that you are really as young as you feel.
More about Music, Seasick Steve, Jools Holland, BBC
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