Walter Trout blends blues and rock

6.24.08

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Blues-rock guitarist Walter Trout is not known for his shyness in expressing himself on the guitar.

That certainly applies to his new CD, "The Outsider" (Provogue Records), on which he bends the wire as well as stretches his songwriting and vocal skills.

But there's more than just fiery guitar at work here (even though there's plenty of that). The tracks often defy the standard ear-splitting blues-rock stereotype. And the thoughtful lyrics often defy the harsh, testosterone-only blues-rocker image.

Right from the start, "Welcome to the Human Race" sets the pace with a blistering guitar that knows when to lay back and let the vocals have their meaningful say.

"The Next Big Thing" is a thoughtful look at fame and fortune underlaid with tough guitar that gets its message across without shouting.

"A Matter of the Heart" is a poignant lesson in love that has a near-acoustic quality in its gentle approach and tender vocals -- well, tender for blues-rock, anyway, and that's rare and tender.

So it goes throughout. It's passionate music that Trout has under complete control, using it instead of keeping it from going over the edge into machine-gun guitar parody.

The toughest, bluesiest tracks are "Can't Have It All" and "The Outsider." Trout rips through the guitar lines and shouts the blues with passion and intensity. "Outsider" is a little more of a slow-burner, not that it will put you to sleep. But it would be just fine, very fine, for some torrid slow dancing. Yes, kids, slow dancing can be torrid. See BlueNotes FootNotes below.

Trout may not be your traditional bluesman, but he's a tough and talented singer-songwriter who takes advantage of all his musical skills, not just his ability to play the guitar like a machine gun.

FootNotes:

• From Wikipedia: "Nowadays, a very popular form of partner dancing among youth is "slow dancing," and how close the partners get is up to them, although lovers are more likely to dance closely than friends. In the "hug-and-sway" version of slow dancing, the man usually puts his arms around the female's waist, while the female puts her arm on the man's shoulders. Some serious dancers do not consider "slow dancing" to be really a dance at all."

The 25 greatest slow-dance songs

Slow-dancing tips, with instructional video



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