Walter Trout is a damn fine guitar player and he is also a story teller. If you have ever attended his live shows, he will often comment on his songs and what they are about. He sings with passion and emotion and it's no wonder that his fan base is growing very quickly in the United States. He is already very well known in Europe where he regularly plays stadiums and arenas and was voted the sixth best guitar player of all time in an English poll, two votes behind Jimmy Page. This is something that just doesn't happen to your average singer/guitar player. I've described Walter Trout previously as America's greatest secret and by the increase in fans at his shows, the secret is getting out. All I can say is that it's about time.
Walter's newest CD, 'Go The Distance' is comprised of 13 songs ranging from all out rock and roll, to emotional blues, to Chuck Berry boogie to a couple of songs that are almost country style. As always Walter's guitar work is all over this CD. He doesn't rely on effects to get his sounds. He typically just plugs into his amplifier and adjusts his volume and tone to get more than the average range of tones and sounds. In his hands the guitar can actually talk and provides more interest than a lot of players get out of a rack of effects. Walter singing voice is excellent with lots of emotion and power. Anyone who has seen him on stage knows that his stage presence is powerful and that he gives 100%.
His new CD opens with 'Love So Deep', starting with a bang of the drums and immediately dives into a up tempo shuffle. Track 3, 'Lookin for the Promised Land' is kind of a slow blues, but with a twist, almost something that you might hear in a modern Christian rock band. It's the story of mankind looking for the promised land from biblical times to the current equal rights leaders. Track 5, 'Go The Distance' is another slow blues, a story about still going after being knocked down and suffering defeats and/or failures. Lots of good guitar work here. Track 6, 'Message on The Doorway' has an interesting story behind it. Walter had written a song about a homeless woman a few years back that was a hit in Europe and people started tracking this woman down. She was not happy about being known and in response she wrote Walter a message on a doorway of a building berating him for writing the original song about her and messing with her life. So Walter wrote this song about the message from the homeless woman. Track 7, 'Faithful' has an almost country sound to it, which reminds me of some of the early Eagles songs. Track 9, 'Bugle Billy' is the story of one of Walter's old friends, who was a great horn player, who died in VietNam. This is a great story, and quite emotional. Anyone who has ever visited the VietNam memorial should be able to identify with this song. Track 10, 'Gotta Leave This Town' has some great guitar work all over it. It's sort of an aggressive blues with the guitar harmonizing with the vocals. Very nice work on this one. Track 11, 'I don't Want My MTV' is my choice for the most airplay even tho it's the shortest song on the CD. It's a great crowd favorite at concerts. As you can imagine, it's the story of how MTV is devoid of soul and real rock and roll these days. Sung to a classic Chuck Berry style structure and song licks, Walter slams MTV and the non music that you get there these days. Track 12, 'Doin Just Fine' is a slow blues, with lots of good guitar work. Anyone who likes guitar blues will enjoy this one.
Walter Trout and members of the band wrote all 13 of the songs, a good share of which have been tested and tweaked on the road. Production of this CD is excellent which is pretty standard for anything produced by Jim Gaines, who's work reads like a who's who in the music world.
The Bottom line: If you haven't heard of or checked out Walter Trout, do so as soon as possible. This CD is one of his best yet with lots of great blues and a variety of styles and tempos. It's got lots of great music, great guitar playing and great singing. I give this one five stars.
Walter Trout - guitars, vocals, harmonica, mandolin
Jimmy Trapp - bass guitar
Bill Mason - B-3 Organ and keyboards
Bernard Pershey - drums & percussion
Official Web site: www.waltertrout.com
Fan e-mail: Radicals@waltertrout.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Robert Murphy, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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