Seth Augustus paid his early dues in the venerable art-punk and experimental music world of 1980s Boston where he picked up a still-healthy ethic of DIY self-reliance. He migrated to San Francisco in the late eighties, where he befriended the elusive guitar wizard Helios Creed, who became a significant musical and recording influence on Augustus. Creed's approach favors intuition over intellect, and an anything-goes musical inclusiveness that literally opens up a world of possibilities.
In the late 1990s, after a six year hiatus from music, fortune led Augustus to make the most important connection of his creative life. He befriended Paul Pena, the great blind blues-man who penned ‘Big Old Jet Airliner’ and was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, Genghis Blues. Seth became his student, and eventually his road manager, occasional collaborator and, when Pena took ill, his caretaker until the end of his life in 2005. The time in Paul Pena’s company was transformative for Seth Augustus. It was Pena’s encouragement, his advice, his perspective; it was traveling to Tuva and studying throat singing with masters, Chigilchin there, it was learning blues with Pena, learning the blues as something that emanates from inside; it was traveling through Mali and being deeply moved by the musicians there, in short, it was the entire thing, this comprehensive re-immersion into music, that propelled Augustus into the fertile zone he currently inhabits.
"Every tune here is a gem; sharp, black diamonds flicking with their own sinister twinkle. If Howlin’ Wolf wrote a song for T. Rex it might come out sounding like 'Slim Sam.'" — J. Poet, Crawdaddy Magazine
"This is urban swamp music for which dark alleys and basement speakeasies were surely invented, pure and simple. It is at once strikingly original whilst also hugely evocative of some of the great characters of American rhythm and blues and leftfield blues rock music – a distillation of Howlin’ Wolf, Don Van Vliet, Tom Waits and Mac Rebennack [Dr. John] laced with hallucinatory snake venom. However, Augustus is clearly his own man and channels his influences smartly into something distinctively his…What Augustus has created is something uniquely old and new and is this month’s contender for ‘the best thing I’ve heard all year (so far)'" — Ian Fraser, Terrascope (UK)
"So let's dispense with the obligatory comparisons, Seth Augustus is as original a sound as I have yet encountered in 2010. This is intelligent, imaginative, and uniquely American music, Tuvan fiddle and banjo not withstanding." — William Gillespie, Smile Politely
"Augustus has sealed his fate as an excellent modern bluesman." — Sarah Moore, Pop Matters
"These dark, snaky, moody pieces may be based in the blues...but they are injected with a decidedly twenty-first century mindset. " — Babysue/LMNOP
"With a sly folk swagger and gravely chops to match the masters, Seth Augustus has created an album somewhere between the laid back ramblings of Tom Waits and the kooky vocals of Captain Beefheart. Opening with “To The Pouring Rain”, Augustus’s dust-bowl folk styling is fit for a wanderer or vagabond from near a century ago." — Fense, FensePost
"The apprentice of bluesman Paul Pena has concocted an unusual musical mix influenced by both tradition and experimentation." — M Music & Musicians( March/April 2010)
"Seth Augustus sounds like a late career Tom Waits or even Leonard Cohen, straining to convey the imaginative thoughts streaming from his cortex .... The album sounds like the inspiration to half-a-dozen David Lynch flicks, sexy Americana folk with notes of early jazz and a more blues experimental Captain Beefheart." — J-Sin, Smother Magazine
"A little bit of Howlin’ Wolf, a little more Captain Beefheart, Augustus sounds on “Trickeries of the Great Emptiness” the way I’d like to imagine the Kurt Cobain who sang his desperate version of “In the Pines” would sound a few decades later, with most of the demons exorcised and a relaxed acceptance of what came and was still to come." — Justin, Citizen Dick
"...Trickeries of Great Emptiness’ where a simple drum track, a melancholic vocal, a fricassee of guitar and some slide guitar that’s as graceful as a Kingfisher plucking its prey out of the water. It’s a simple lesson of how to make something good out of so little, Augustus does everything and he’s produced a song of simple elegance." — David Cowling, Americana UK
"There is a surprising amount of variety to be found on this disc and it is clear that Augustus has a lot of skill as a songwriter.To the Pouring Rain is an album that listeners will find themselves returning to on a regular basis, as the instrumental variety and slightly eccentric lyrical content are sure to grab their attention. Seth Augustus is off to a great start and it seems likely that he could become a name that people know if he continues to release material of this quality. If you’re looking for a new blues artist that is close to being on par with some of the bigger names, definitely give this disc a shot." — Chris Dahlberg, Cosmos Gaming
"This is the music God hears in his sleep when He has a high fever..." — Spider Robinson, co-author with Robert A. Heinlein of VARIABLE STAR
"What floors us is the voice, like no other… A voice that takes to the highway and steals our hearts.” — Dona Carlotta, Aux Arts Etc., Zurich
"Seth Augustus, Throaty bluesman, between Mongolia and Charley Patton." — Thierry Porée, Radio Libertaire, Paris
Review by Guy Ernest Incoherent for the online magazine, Poin Poin English translation by Thierry Duty:
"Seth Augustus, (hairy blues) is a great man and his singing and screams are happiness to my ears. It's a celebration with no compromise of the pouring rain. The squares and show business regular people won't find here their usual bad soup, and will not find here their usual mechanical and loop sampled crap. Yes by Toutatis (a Gaulish god) Seth will not be loved by those sad soldiers of the music industry (one-two-one-two). For those reasons I want Seth Augustus to be saluted with high respect. [...]
The Blues is the mark of personification and freedom of man against the system and the machines. Seth Augustus offers to our ears guitar, bass, igil and percussion. Sometimes he uses a voice which sounds like a bass wasp flying around you. At last we have here a man who reveals the uniqueness of a world inhabited by a diversity of feelings. We ought to appreciate such men who work far away from the joyless and worn-out music celebrated by the goths, military parade lovers and religious followers."