Out For Musical Justice

A CD has been making the rounds at newspapers and music publications without identifying information about the artist or other usual credits, but with the promise of a surprise from a publicist.

A reviewer from the Los Angeles Times described hearing “a male singer with a strong, understated voice, in the realm of Jack Johnson but with more energy.”

He gushed further: “The songwriting was accomplished and the production credible, incorporating singer/songwriter elements, dance-hall and Indian instrumentation. One song featured a harmonica solo sounding uncannily like Stevie Wonder.”

This debut album didn’t come from the hottest new indie wunderkind. The mystery artist was revealed to be 54-year-old action film star Steven Seagal.

“I’ve been playing my whole life,” Seagal told the Times. “It’s my first life. I’ve written about 150 songs. My momma died two years ago and before she did, she said, ‘Son, you’ve got a lot of songs. Put them out. People like them.'”

Sounds like a blues song by itself.

But Seagal has played guitar since growing up in Detroit and rubbing elbows with blues greats like Albert Collins, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Lightnin’ Hopkins. He’s played with Brown and B.B. King.

His mystery debut album was revealed as Songs From the Crystal Cave and recorded with the help of Tyrone Downie and Al Anderson, both former members of Bob Marley’s Wailers, among others.

And that harmonica? It was Stevie Wonder.

Seagal told the newspaper he has tentative plans to tour next spring. But he’s also acutely aware that movie stars have had notorious credibility problems navigating the transition to recording artist.

Can you say Don Johnson? Bruce Willis?

“I’m of course afraid of that,” Seagal told the Times. “But that’s only in America, and I think we can prove to everyone that this is real.”