Walter Trout has been playing and sometimes living the blues for five decades. The guitarist was with Canned Heat in the early 1980s, shared the stage and recorded with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers and sold millions of albums as a solo artist, but drugs and alcohol almost did him in. He was just days away from death last year when he received a liver transplant, an experience he recounts in a song called "Gonna Live Again."
"I'm having a conversation with God on that song," Trout explains. "I list in thie song that I've been a bad person in my life — I've lied, I've cheated, I've done things that I'm not proud of — but I've been given this chance. When I was in the liver ward, there were people dying all around me, but I made it. I survived. So I'm asking, what is my responsibility now?"
Walter Trout has returned from the brink, and played the Royal Albert Hall in London this past June. His new album is called Battle Scars, and he joined NPR's Scott Simon to talk about it.