The term “new lease of life” is often overused in it’s description of someone getting a second wind or a second chance, but for Walter Trout, the term literally does mean a new lease of life. His near-fatal battle with liver disease in 2014 is well documented, and since his recovery, he has barely stopped. The first album after his brush with death, ‘Battle Scars’, was such an intense album that Trout felt he had to follow it up with something fun and light-hearted. Hence, the arrival of ‘We’re All In This Together’, easily the best guitar album that I’ve heard this year so far, by a country mile. With a Whatsapp contact list the envy of anyone remotely interested in guitars, blues or just music in general, Trout made a few calls. Returning the calls were an all-star cast that included, amongst others, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Sonny Landreth, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, Joe Bonamassa, Edgar Winter, Warren Haynes, and the godfather himself, John Mayall. I actually drooled typing that list. When the album actually starts up… oh my!
‘Gonna Hurt Like Hell’ opens the album with a soft blues shuffle that instantly gets the feet tapping. The guitar fireworks are humongous and effortless. Kenny Wayne Shepherd helps out, and the pair go at it hammer and tongs. What’s interesting is that the closing (title) track features Joe Bonamassa. The album is bookended by two of the most respected current blues/rock players around today. Coincidence or not, the fact that Trout opens and closes the album with two “youngsters” speaks volumes about the wealth of talent that the genre currently enjoys. Passing the torch? The title track is nearly eight minutes long, and I’d give my right nut to see the pair replicate it on a stage. Incendiary guitar playing at it’s very best. In between these two tracks is a feast of modern day blues rock that will make your head spin. Sonny Landreth brings his inimitable slide work to ‘Ain’t Going Back’, the legendary Charlie Musselwhite blows his famous harmonica on ‘The Other Side Of The Pillow’, a feat that John Mayall replicates on the acoustic driven ‘Blues For Jimmy T’. Three very different tracks that highlight how eclectic the blues can actually be. One of the standout tracks on an album full of them is ‘She Listens To The Blackbird Sing’. Featuring another “youngster”, Mike Zito, it has an Allman Brothers vibe running through it, and just gets better with each listen. ‘The Sky Is Crying’ is a slower, more traditional blues sound, with Warren Haynes taking time out from Gov’t Mule to go toe to toe with Trout on a beast of a track. Trout himself best describes it by calling it a “guitar conversation”! Understatement of the year there Walter! ‘Do You Still See Me At All’ is a special moment as Trout Jr, Jon Trout, pops up and proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. An album that piques the interest from the off and doesn’t let up until it fades out over an hour later. The only thing left to do is hit repeat.
‘We’re All In This Together’ is available September 1st through Mascot Label Group.
Catch Walter Trout on tour later this year
6 Oct – Worthing Pier Southern Pavillion, WORTHING
7 Oct – Chinnerys, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA
9 Oct – The Brook, SOUTHAMPTON
10 Oct – Under The Bridge, LONDON
11 Oct – Under The Bridge, LONDON
13 Oct – Central Station, WREXHAM
14 Oct – Warehouse 23, WAKEFIELD
15 Oct – Preston Guild Hall, PRESTON
17 Oct – Robin 2, BILSTON
18 Oct – Public Hall, HARPENDEN
20 Oct – Bierkeller Theatre, BRISTOL
21 Oct – Sin City, SWANSEEA
22 Oct – Muni Arts Centre, PONTYPRIDD
Review: Dave Stott