Sunday, 02 March 2014
Rudie Humphrey

Suspend reality for a minute; image that Springsteen hadn’t happened, or that he was touring the coffee houses of North America in a minivan, tip jar front and centre, now you have Paul Seeba.

Whether you’d have Seeba and his ilk without Bruce is unlikely but it is one of those sound-a-like records.  That’s what I like it for.  It is tyre iron by day, telecaster by night, production line shift work enables Marshal and Cry-baby to be bought music.  We all do it.  Some, like Seeba, are better than others.

It’s the sort of record we just don’t make in the UK, not well.  It has a different DNA, we have a different sense of place, maybe we’re all too heaped up on top of each other, maybe the sea is just too close to most of us.  We don’t have that open expanded landscape, the nothing for 3 hours, in any direction freedom.  This is a record full of that space, steeped in the beauty of Northern American music, true Americana, blues, and that white catholic work ethic.  Its veins are full of Neil Young, Chuck Berry walking hand in hand.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Seeba wouldn’t be out of place, denim AOR, clever FM radio rock, it harks of a time of blue collar car plant workers music.  Budweiser and pick-up truck music.  It’s an eggs over easy and root beer record.  Records like this, are the reason we do this site, it is exactly that thing we call Americana.  Highways, Fenders, diners and motels distilled into 10 tracks.

‘Science Fair’ is REM’s ‘..Rockville’, and would be a great lightweight introduction to the genre.  Dylan, Mellencamp and Young in a snapshot, with a dash of college rock.  Harmonicas, whirly organs, weepy pedal steels, frisky fret work all present, all correct.  I love the Skynard/Band tracks like ‘Kalakan River’.  It has a peerless linage, something we don’t have and why we just don’t make these sorts of records.  It’s a V8 to our Ford Anglia.

‘Wayward’, sounds at time like ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’ and ‘Sunshine in Face’ is Seeba’s ‘Ohio’, in sound but not content, as if to emphasise that we had Adam Faith, they had Little Richard.  We even get some 90’s grunge ala’ ‘Heart Shaped Box’ on his ‘God of Rain’, fans of Mathew Sweet or Toad the Wet Sprocket, he made a record for you.  It’s a good record, workman like, functional, a cold towel on the face to revive you record.  It reminds you why we like this thing we call Americana.

http://www.americana-uk.com/cd-reviews/item/paul-seeba-mitchell-yards