Trout’s formative blues influences are well-documented, spanning from Paul Butterfield’s 1965 self-titled debut alongside Mike Bloomfield to John Mayall’s seminal 1966 ‘Beano’ LP with Eric Clapton. But as he cut his teeth in New Jersey, the young guitarist was also drawn to the maverick songwriters, taking in The Beatles, Dylan and Neil Young’s Crazy Horse. At every step of his career – moving to California in ’74 to back up giants like John Lee Hooker, joining Canned Heat and Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in the ’80s, then flying solo in 1989 – the stockpile of songs kept growing.
For Walter Trout, there is no ‘us’ and ‘them’. Across his five-decade career, the great US bluesman’s music has always been a lifeline and call-to-arms, reminding listeners they are not alone.
“This album started because I was dealing with the flaws and weakness inside me. But it ended up being about everyone”, Trout adds. Ordinary Madness is cathartic songcraft and themes of shared troubles couldn’t chime better with a period in which our souls and spirits are under fire from tumultuous global events. Admirably open about his troubled youth, and his own ongoing struggles with mental health, the bluesman had spent recent tours soothing himself by scribbling down his thoughts and feelings. It was only later he realised he’d just written the most honest lyric-sheet of his career – and felt he had an opportunity to let fans share and identify with him. “Everybody is dealing with something,” he added about the album,. “And I’m no different from anybody else. Ordinary Madness doesn’t mean you’re gonna end up in a mental institution." "It’s just being human. It’s common humanity.”
On this awesome new album Trout uses his band of Michael Leasure (drums), Johnny Griparic (bass) and Teddy ‘Zig Zag’ Andreadis (keys) – along with long-time producer Eric Corne, plus special guests Skip Edwards, Drake ‘Munkihaid’ Shining and Anthony Grisham.
The backdrop, once again, was the private LA studio of Doors legend Robby Krieger. Trout told about the studio: “The whole place is full of vintage gear, and it’s all there for you, whatever you want. The keyboard that Ray Manzarek used in The Doors – it’s just fucking sitting there.
"Ordinary Madness" starts with the laid back bluesy titlesong. A tasteful guitar accompanied by a fantastic hammond and a basic rythm foundation gets you in the right mood for this awesome record..
"Wanna Dance" follows in a more 70s classic rock style. Walter slightly uses his rawer vocal side and still there is enough blues in this masterpiece.
On "My Foolish Pride" Trout goes personal regarding lyrics. Something he will do throughout the album quite often. A very low pace tasty bluesy ballad.
The rythm guitar on "Heartland" slightly makes me think of "Trust In Yourself" by Mike Tramp, but in Trout's case the song has a much more blues oriented direction. A very nice singer songwriter storytelling song.
"All Out Of Tears" could have been on any Gary Moore album, but having said that it would not do justice to Trout. This is a very well sung and emotionful track. Listen to the fantastic flow in the solo. It's Walter Trout meets Vaughan/Moore.
A bit more of a southern bluesrock influence can be heard on "Final Curtain Call" with a great harmonica and raw vocals.
A tastfull intro on "Heaven In Your Eyes" leads into a feelful love ballad.
One of the highlights is "The Sun Is Going Down" a very nice hammond keeps a very nice 70s foundation which has a Doors feel to it. The song is about running out of time. looking at death, dealing with it, accepting it. That’s a condition of being alive. Just listen to the amazing shift in rythm towards the solo, led in with that very same hammond which indeed is the very same hammond The Doors used. It gives the song an epic end.
On "Make It Right" Trout throws in another awesome blues song with a soaring solo. Great stuff. Love the occasional soulful high pitch vocals.
Vocally walter is on a top notch level in "Up Above My Sky". Introvert and sung with feel and clearly another album highlight.. You just believe what he sings and then suddenly the tempo increases right before the solo and afterwards ending it all gracefully again. About this song Trout reflected:, “sometimes you have to see through the darkness to find the light. I can’t wait get back out there again, meet the people at shows, hug them and pose for a photo". Well said.
The record closer "Ok Boomer" is the anthem for any middle age man. A nice raw rocker which makes sure the album doesn't go out like a candle but with a raging fire.
"Ordinary Madness" is Walter Trout's best album to date and i can't imagine any other album beating this one as the blues album of the year.
From start to finish this one is electrifying with next to Walter's voice & amazing guitar, a huge part for the fantastic hammond/keyboard, giving it a full sound with so much depth.
Track list 1. Ordinary Madness 2. Wanna Dance 3. My Foolish Pride 4. Heartland 5. All Out of Tears 6. Final Curtain Call 7. Heaven In Your Eyes 8. The Sun Is Going Down 9. Make It Right 10. Up Above My Sky 11. OK Boomer