Seasick Steve could play anything. Dirty down and funky blues.
The diddley bow is a single-stringed American instrument that influenced the development of the blues sound. It consists of a single string of baling wire tensioned between two nails on a board over a glass bottle, which is used both as a bridge and as a means to magnify the instrument’s sound.
The diddley bow is typically homemade, consisting of a wooden board and a single wire string stretched between two screws and played by plucking while varying the pitch with a metal or glass slide held in the other hand. Using a glass bottle as the bridge helps amplify the sound. The diddley bow was traditionally considered an “entry-level” instrument, usually played by adolescent boys, who then graduate to a “normal” guitar if they show promise on the diddley bow. Currently, the diddley bow is also played by professional players as a solo as well as an accompaniment instrument.
Steve is living proof that your big break can come at any age. Born Steven Gene Wold in Oakland, California in 1941 – yes, 1941 – Steve has spent his life in transit: he’s been everything from a hobo to a record producer. But he never strayed far from music.
Kicked out of his family home at the age of 14, Seasick Steve became a genuine hobo, hopping freights all over America. Always traveling with his guitar – having been taught a few chords as a kid by Delta bluesman KC Douglas, an old pal of the legendary Tommy Johnson – in the ’60s he began to play at clubs on the West Coast and supported Son House among others.
2006: Dog House Music
2008: I Started Out With Nothin and I Still Got Most of it Left
2009: Man From Another Time
2010: Songs for Elisabeth
2011: You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
2012: Hubcap Music
2015: Sonic Soul Surfer
2016: Keepin’ The Horse Between Me and The Ground
2018: Can U Cook?
2020: Love and Peace