Rock, Roots, & Blues - Live



The Blues Came Callin' - Walter Trout
Steve Hefter

May 22, 2014

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Thanks to Steve Karas of SKH Music, earlier this month we received an advance copy of the amazing new album by Walter Trout. It is events like this that sometimes make me feel like a newcomer to the blues – as this album is my first exposure to Walter Trout and his music. My immediate impression of this all-around fine piece of work was, “Wow! This is incredible. Where have I been?"


The album opens with a full-out rock and roll song, “Wastin’ Away”. The irony of this song - when you know what Walter has been dealing with - is very telling. The guitar work on this song rivals any new music (and a lot of old music too!) that I’ve heard in years. It is one of those songs that, if you listen to it while driving, you'll be doing 90 mph before you even realize it. Full-tilt air guitar!


Of the 12 songs on the album, Walter Trout wrote nine of them. Each one tells a story. Some – very powerful – like the chilling tune, “The Bottom of the River” about being sucked down to the bottom of a river, nearly drowning, and yet emerging, having “cheated death” with a new found appreciation for life. The one line from this song that I can't shake is “At the bottom of the river, is where I met my soul”. It would be easy to believe that this event actually happened to Walter, and maybe it did. And more likely, the river is a metaphor for what Walter has been going through.


The guitar work on this album is hard driving rock/blues with so much feeling and passion - the type of raw, powerful guitar that grabs the listener and doesn't let go. Walter just lets it rip! I immediately wanted to run out and see him play live as soon as possible. What I found out, sadly, is that Walter is currently in a hospital in Nebraska, critically ill, with a failing liver, desperately awaiting a transplant. Many musicians, crediting Walter as an inspiration to their own careers, have been banding together to raise funds to help him and his wife through this ordeal.


It’s clear to me that only Walter could sing the songs on this album. The lyrics, vocals, and guitar seemlesly mesh – born of one heart, mind, and spirit. I wonder if these songs were mostly captured in one take in the studio? Most of them have a feeling of a live show. And a treat – Walter doing a John Mayall song, “Mayall’s Piano Bogie” with John Mayall playing the keyboard on the tune. At one point Walter calls out during the song, “Play it John….”  Awesome.


The song, “Born in the City” also has an auto-biographical feel to it. You get the feeling that Walter is letting you in on his inner thoughts and personal stories throughout the album.


For me, the bottom line with this album is that it embodies all the things I seek out in music: great stories, wonderfully powerful vocals, and most of all, gritty, jammin’ hard driving guitar. Walter Trout is truly someone to be reckoned with.


The album will be released on June 2nd in the UK and coincides with the release of his biography titled “Rescued From Reality – The Life and Times of Walter Trout”. The U.S. release date is June 10th.  If you like excellent rock/blues – “The Blues Came Callin’” is a must have for your collection. Buy it – don’t copy it – and support the musicians who created this fine album. You will be more than glad you did. And me? I'll be listening to all the Walter Trout music I somehow missed along the way.


As mentioned. Walter is very ill. You can follow the blog by his wife Marie here:


http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/walter-trout-needs-a-new-liver-you-can-help-/151911


It’s been very moving to read Marie’s thoughts and experiences as Walter’s health declines. She is a wonderful writer and I’ve found myself looking forward to her blog posts, hoping each day that I will read that a liver has been found for Walter.


Here is the full listing of tracks and musicians appearing on the album.:


1. Wastin' Away
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Kenny Gradney
Hammond B3: Skip Edwards
Drums: Michael Leasure
Percussion: Eric Corne
 
2. The World is Goin' Crazy (and so am I)
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Rick Knapp
Hammond B3: Sammy Avila
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
3. The Bottom of the River
Guitars, Harmonica, and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Taras Prodaniuk
Hammond B3: Skip Edwards
Drums: Michael Leasure
Percussion: Eric Corne
 
4. Take a Little Time
Guitars, Harmonica (no harmonica), and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Taras Prodaniuk
Piano: Sasha Smith
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
5. The Whale Has Swallowed Me (please double check)
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Rick Knapp
Hammond B3: Skip Edwards and Sammy Avila
Percussion: Michael Leasure
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
6. Willie
Guitar, Harmonica, and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Taras Prodaniuk
Hammond B3: Deacon Jones
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
7. Mayall's Piano Boogie
Guitar: Walter Trout
Piano: John Mayall
Bass: Taras Prodaniuk
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
8. Born in the City
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: Rick Knapp
Hammond B3: Sammy Avila
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
9. Tight Shoes
Guitar: Walter Trout
Bass: Rick Knapp
Hammond B3: Sammy Avila
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
10. The Blues Came Callin'
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Hammond B3: John Mayall
Bass: Taras Prodaniuk
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
11. Hard Time
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Bass: John Avila
Fender Rhodes: Skip Edwards
Hammond B3: Sammy Avila
Drums: Michael Leasure
 
12. Nobody Moves Me Like You Do
Guitar and Vocals: Walter Trout
Hammond B3: Sammy Avila
Bass: Rick Knapp
Drums: Michael Leasure


Walter Trout - The Blues Came Callin'