Written by Maria Arroyo
Blues and Americana legend, Walter Trout, is sharing his newest album, Ordinary Madness, that is filled with incredible guitar solos, thought-provoking lyrics, and more insight into his personal struggles during this tough time. This new record was created within days of the COVID-19 shutdown, and “as the world seeks solace from a tragedy that has touched us all, he comes armed with a boundary” that he hopes will continue to bring his fans closer than ever before. “There’s a lot of extraordinary madness going on right now,” Trout explains, “This album started because I was dealing with the flaws and weaknesses inside me. But it ended up being about everyone.”
Bringing this record to life includes musicians Michael Leasure (drums), Johnny Griparic (bass), and Teddy “Zig Zag” Andreadis (keys). He’s also joined by producer Eric Corne, and some featured guests including Skip Edwards, Drake “Munkihaid” Shining, and Anthony Grisham. Trout‘s music has been described as “musical fireworks, with equal parts thriller, romance, suspense, and horror.” Ever since Trout started on his solo career, he has continued to pave the way for blues and Americana music for singer/songwriters, and I don’t think he’s looking to slow down anytime soon. Using the world around him to influence his take on his music, “There’s no autopilot, but a true sense of growing momentum that continues to be more compelling with each new creation.” Jumping right into an EPIC start is the track “Ordinary Madness.” This song highlights his traditional blues mix with Americana-inspired style that sets the stage for the rest of the album. Trout has an interesting vocabulary, but his ability to tell such an intriguing story keeps it within reach. I got really lost in the song, and the feelings start to swell up inside you. The song is kind of a long piece for an opener, but it really does a stellar job of setting up the story to follow for the rest of the album. There was so much to listen for, and even though it wasn’t anything crazy musically, it was so well crafted, that the length was not too much of a bother for me. The next track, “Wanna Dance,” has an interesting juxtaposition between this classic rock sound and my assumption of this song having a softer feel to it. Plus, I always love a good guitar solo in a song and trust me, there are way more than a few for this record. Trout’s next song is “My Foolish Pride.” I love the likability and appeal this song has, and how effortlessly he plays it. I loved all the songs before, but with each new one, I love them more and more! Every solo gets better and better while remaining unique and interesting to their respective song. He’s not just slapping a solo into a song, it’s actually a well throughout section integrated into the song. Following “My Foolish Pride,” is the song “Heartland.” It is SUCH a good song! The musicality is over the moon, and if there’s a better word than amazing to describe this song, please substitute it for mine in your head. So sidebar: One of the biggest reasons I love live shows is because it’s impossible to not feel the music in your body; so much so that you have to move and head bop and have this intense look on your face, or you might explode? Yeah, that feeling? I get that here!
Bringing even more soul to the record is “All Out Of Tears” (which was co-written with Teeny Tucker and Marie Trout). I loved everything about this song (shocker)! There’s so much intensity that’s complemented by a massive buildup throughout the song, along with so much passion in the emotion that really brings this song to the next level. The mention is in every part of the song, from his vocals to the instrumentals, and sometimes trying to capture that in a recording can be close to impossible, but he nails it in this song. Bringing a whole lot of attitude and energy is “Final Curtain Call.” It screams angst and energy, which is backed up by a dirtier rock and grunge style sound. “The Sun Is Going Down” is a song about aging and growing old.”Lyrically, it’s about running out of time,” Trout shares, “You gotta look at death, deal with it, accept it. That’s a condition of being alive.” Once again, the guitar playing is top-notch and is a huge strength and highlight of the album.
“Up Above My Sky” is another epically-created song. The intensified sections are paired well with softer, mellowed out sections, which is just a smart tool to use in making songs feel bigger and more impactful than before.
Closing out this staple of an album is “OK Boomer.” Now this song is something hilariously special because I honestly think that this millennium term of older folks has just been flipped on its ass. It almost takes the power away from younger people “trying” to use it as a notion to something negative or bitter. He’s acknowledging his age and perspective that brings his music to life, and he’s happy with it!
Trout has always been extremely open about his continued struggles in dealing with his mental health but has always channeled those thoughts into music for others to take in and remember that they are not alone. “As the lyric says in ‘Up Above My Sky,’ he reflects, “sometimes you have to see through the darkness to find the light…”
Pondering on what we all hope to be the near future, Trout shares, “I can’t wait to get back out there again, meet the people at shows, hug them, and pose for a photo. And I’m really looking forward to playing these songs live. Because I think this album speaks to these times…”
In listening to just one of his albums, I want to catch his show as soon as possible. He makes me WANT to meet him in person to catch even the smallest amount of his infectious energy that I’m sure radiates off of him, just like in his music. This entire record is most definitely something special, Rock on Trout! Connect with Walter Trout