“If there’s a place where the truth can still be found, Lord, lead us to the common ground.” so sings one of my favorite blues artist Walter Trout on the title track of his new album Common Ground. Common Ground is Trout’s 20th album and only a few are in my collection, but those that are get listened to a lot! From his website Trout says this about the song
“I am blown away by the polarization and cruelty in the world today,” Trout explains. “It goes beyond my understanding. I wrote the lyrics to that song as an attempt to come to terms with that, and as a wish that somehow — regardless of our faiths and nationalities and politics — we can find a place where truth and compassion can take us beyond our differences.”
Common Ground is another winner of an album by Trout full of great guitar licks and some great songwriting. To me it seems that there my be a little more acoustic guitar intros. Trout says this about making the album,:”I’d play each song for the guys on acoustic guitar, and then everybody would pitch in ideas and we’d cut the tracks while the excitement level was high,” The guys in this case are band mates Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp, John Fogerty, Elton John, etc.) on drums, Hutch Hutchinson on bass and pianist Jon Cleary (both of Bonnie Raitt’s band), and famed producer John Porter, whose credits span from Brit-pop legends the Smiths to John Lee Hooker and B.B. King to Santana. These are the same guys that played on Trout’s 2008 release The Outsider.
In researching this piece I found this tidbit from Trout’s biography at his website, yet another guitarist influenced by Mike Bloomfield:
For Trout the journey began in 1965 when his brother brought the first album by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band into his family’s New Jersey home. “On the back cover it said, ‘Play this album loud,’ so we cranked it up and we literally had to sit down and stay there with our jaws on the floor.”
The twin guitars of Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, and Butterfield’s juggernaut harmonica and voice, worked their magic. And the direction of Trout’s life was determined. Of course, it helped that his parents were musically informed; raising their kids on a diet of sounds that included Hank Williams, John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, John Coltrane, Bo Diddley, Ray Charles and more.
Like I said this is one of Trout’s best albums and all the songs from the opening track “Maybe a Fool” to the closing track “Excess Bagge are good. I particularly liked “Hudson had Help” which is not you typically blues number!
Blues Matter says this about the album: “Walter just keeps getting better….a CD full of master class guitaring, with the signature Trout, gritty impassioned vocal and composed of well structured songwriting. Another cracker!”
So check it out! Oh, and another thing that I learned about Walter he played with John Mayall on several of John’s albums in the 1980s including one of my favorites Chicago Line and I thought that Coco Montoya was the lone guitarist on that album!! And another thing he was born in Ocean City, NJ!!! And since my third great-grandfather was John Trout and the family lived in Atlantic County in the 185os I bet there is a good chance we share a common ancestor!!
Here’s “Life in the Jungle” from Trout’s 2009 release Unspoiled by Progress