Friday, April 19, 2024

Walter Trout is Broken but unbowed

The prodigious and prolific talent that is Walter Trout needs no introduction to any self-respecting blues fan: he has always released quality albums either solo, with The Radicals and even spent a few fruitful years with John Mayall.

He has just released his, by my calculation at least, his 39th album called Broken. It differs from most of his output in that he has a couple of guest appearances adding their vocals to back up his superb guitar skills. He recruited harmonica player extraordinaire Will Wilder for one track, Dee Snider (Mr Snarly of Twisted Sister) and Beth Hart (excellent solo work and brilliant collaborations with Joe Bonamassa and the much-missed Jeff Beck) bring their talents to bear on one track apiece.

Opening and title track sets the stall for some remarkable work as Beth duets with Walter on this anthem to fortitude in the face of hardship, it’s slow, moody and atmospheric blues of the highest order as the pair reflect on their past challenges. A wonderful solo explains it all too. Will Wilde excels on the gob-iron as he and Walter battle for supremacy on the fabulous blues boogie of ‘Bleed’. The other guest, Dee Snider brings his considerable lungs into play on the blues-based, Hendrix-y, rocky ‘I’ve Had Enough’ and they gel so well and supply a stand-out slice of rock that is irresistible. 

Elsewhere, there are no fillers just pure Trout, pure blues and pure quality: try the magical instrumental ‘Love of My Life’ that brings slow and meaningful blues back to the fore and adds strings to increase the emotion quota to great effect. ‘Heaven or Hell’ has a great riff backing a fascinating storyline and an intelligent solo to top it off. Talking of solos, the best one in my humble is to be found on the restrained shuffle of ‘Courage in the Dark’…this may employ recognisable blues tropes aplenty, but in Walter’s hands, it is fresh, powerful and bloody brilliant.

In case you hadn’t guessed, I am a confirmed fan of Mr Trout and have been since I bought his 1994 Tellin’ Stories album when I was collecting every session Mickey Moody has done, but I remain objective and happily report that the quality level is as high as ever. So if you like blues or blues-rock (or damn good guitar playing) then this a treat on every plane.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
North East born, South West domiciled music lover - mainly heavy rock & blues but not averse to other genres. I'm fortunate to have retired early & I can now take full advantage of the 40+ years I have spent collecting, listening, watching & playing (badly) & have enjoyed researching how blues in particular has shaped the music we know & love today. Now if only I could get my Strat & Musicman to sound in reality how they do in my head!

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The prodigious and prolific talent that is Walter Trout needs no introduction to any self-respecting blues fan: he has always released quality albums either solo, with The Radicals and even spent a few fruitful years with John Mayall. He has just released his, by my...Walter Trout is Broken but unbowed