by: Robert Kinsler
Artist: Walter Trout
Title: Ordinary Madness (Provogue)
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Tell me more: Since its release on Aug. 28, Walter Trout's latest album Ordinary Madness has struck a resonant chord with blues lovers; for the 1-week period ended Sept. 10 the album was number 1 on the British Blues & Jazz album chart and number 2 on the Billboard Blues Chart here in the U.S. The album showcases the wide range of Trout's strengths in full — his fiery fretwork, emotive lead vocals and confessional songwriting are on display everywhere. The 11-track disc finds Trout exploring a vast number of topics with purposeful candor. The title track that opens the collection somehow captures this uncertain time where months of quarantine, economic hardship and burgeoning turmoil in society have millions questioning their immediate and long-term future. But Trout can still see the good in the frayed world; just crank up "Wanna Dance," a blues rocker that finds the artist battling demons and mortality but armed with his music to heal — an explosive and infectious track that builds with each measure. Now 69, Trout celebrates his life and Baby Boomer generation with the rousing "OK Boomer." Loss and doubt are explored on the mid tempo "All Out Of Tears" and soulful ballad "My Foolish Pride; deep and consequential romantic love is revealed in the gorgeous "Heaven In Your Eyes."
The inspired "Heartland" is an expressive account of a young woman who dreams of a larger world than the one she knows; this song is bolstered by rich Americana stylings (including Terry Andreadis' accordion and Drake "Munkihaid" Shining's Hammond B3 organ) and particularly expressive playing from Trout. Perhaps the most poignant selection on the album is "The Sun Is Going Down," where Trout — who survived liver failure and received a transplant in May 2014 — acknowledges the ill effects of time. The song starts with a laid back Delta-tinged vibe that gradually builds to a full-on rocking tour de force rife with his masterful lead guitar play. An epic return to be sure. Information: WalterTrout.com.