Veteran band leader and reformed hellraiser Walter Trout has harnessed his destructive impulses and turbulent emotions and forged a long and successful career. What more could he say on a thirtieth solo album?
Quite a bit, it turns out. Setting the scene with Ghosts and dazzling single Ride, Trout revisits his escape from a hellish childhood at the mercy of a cruel stepfather and finding salvation in his home-town music scene (The Fertile Soil).
Beneath the guitar heroics lurk serious and heartfelt lyrics, but the record is by no means a downer. Leave It All Behind revs with the thrill of the open road, while I Worry Too Much is squelchy funk in a Stevie Wonder vein. And Trout is an astute commentator on worldly troubles on So Many Sad Goodbyes and Better Days Ahead.
To echo one of his finest moments as a member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers: ‘I got me one life to live, I ain’t supposed to die yet.’