When you look at this thing we call life, it is fair to say we’re all in this together. No matter how separated we have become, collectively we have to join forces to overcome the struggles, regardless how difficult they are. Well for one blues guitarist that concept is surely true. He is also the only artist with the vision, talent and star-studded address book to pull off such a grand scale project.
“It was quite a piece of work to get this record together,” he admits. “But I guess I have a lot of friends, y’know…?”
This August, Walter Trout is releasing his 26th album titled ‘We’re All In This Together’ via Provogue Records. With the help of no less than fourteen of his musical friends, this new album is set to showcase the one man’s vision; a man who is the beating heart of the modern blues world. Before you even hear the first note sound off, this album will grab your attention with a soulful intensity. Enlisting a who’s who of A-list stars – including Joe Bonamassa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, John Mayall and Randy Bachman – and writing an original song for each, Trout has made the most tantalizing album of the year, and found solace after a run of solo albums that chronicled his near-fatal liver disease of 2014. “Now was the right time for this record,” he says. “Battle Scars  was such an intense piece of work, written with tears coming down my face. I needed a break from that, to do something fun and light-hearted. This album was joyous for me.”
“Deacon sorta discovered me when I moved to LA in the ’70s,” reflects Trout. “So I owe him.”
-Walter Trout on Deacon Jones
Look at the credits of ‘We’re All In This Together’ and you’ll find references to every part of Trout’s history. There is keys man and long-time friend Skip Edwards, who came up on the same early-’70s New Jersey circuit where Trout cut his teeth as lead guitarist for Wilmont Mews. Organ wizard Deacon Jones, the West Coast bandleader who brought a twenty-something Trout into the realm of infamous blues masters like John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton. “Deacon sorta discovered me when I moved to LA in the ’70s,” reflects Trout. “So I owe him.”
“I’m 66 years old,… but I feel like I’m in the best years of my life right now. I feel better than I have in years physically. I have more energy. I have a whole different appreciation of being alive, of the world, of my family, of my career. I want life to be exciting and celebratory. I want to dig in. I want to grab life by the balls and not let go, y’know…?”
Trout also enlisted a handful of close friends from the recent all-star project Supersonic Blues Machine, such as Warren Haynes, Robben Ford and Eric Gales. Then there is John Mayall: the ageless British blues-boom godfather who hired a troubled Trout for the Bluesbreakers in 1985 and now blows harp on ‘Blues For Jimmy T.’ “Am I proud to call myself a former Bluesbreaker?” Trout reflects. “Yeah, of course. What a credential. That is a very exclusive club, and I know that when I’m gone, that’s gonna be one of the big things that they’ll remember me for: that I was a Bluesbreaker for five years.”
From going out on his own in 1989, Trout’s solo career has been nothing but a success. Touring relentlessly and churning out timeless albums that include 1990’s flag-planting ‘Life In The Jungle’, 1998’s breakthrough ‘Walter Trout’ and 2012’s politically barbed ‘Blues For The Modern Daze’, he’s won international acclaim and enjoyed ever-growing sales in a seriously fickle industry. Years on the road have also brought him close friendships, as seen in 2006’s cameo-fueled ‘Full Circle’ album and this year’s unofficial sequel, ‘We’re All In This Together’. “The new album was originally gonna be called Full Circle Volume 2,” notes Trout, “but I wanted to make the title a positive statement in this time of madness.”
Whereas ‘Full Circle’ saw each guest visit the studio to track their part, the advance of recording technology in the passing decade meant Trout’s collaborators on ‘We’re All In This Together’ were able contribute from afar. “In the studio, it was the core band of me, Sammy Avila [keys], Mike Leasure [drums] and Johnny Griparic [bass] on every cut, with Eric Corne producing,” he explains, “and then, for most of the tracks, people sent us their parts. But it’s very hard to tell we’re not in the studio together. If you listen to the Warren Haynes track, when we get into that guitar conversation on the end – it sounds like we’re looking each other right in the face, y’know?”
They say you can judge a man by the company he keeps. If that is the case, then ‘We’re All In This Together’ is definitely proof of Walter Trout’s position at the center of the blues scene. This is not just the sound of an artist getting by with a little help from his friends, but kicking ass with an album (in what is the swan song for many), at this late stage in his career. “I’m 66 years old,” considers Trout, “but I feel like I’m in the best years of my life right now. I feel better than I have in years physically. I have more energy. I have a whole different appreciation of being alive, of the world, of my family, of my career. I want life to be exciting and celebratory. I want to dig in. I want to grab life by the balls and not let go, y’know…?”
Walter Trout’s new album will be released this August 25th here in North America and September 1st in Europe. He will also be paying a visit to New England with stops at The Kate in Old Saybrook, CT on 7/07/17, Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA on 7/08/17, Bull Run in Shirley, MA on 7/13/17, Infinity Music Hall in Norwalk, CT on 7/14/17, Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, NH, on 7/15/17, North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, ME on 7/16/17, North River Blues Festival in Marshfield, MA on 8/26/17, and the 2 Left Feet Blues Festival in Simsbury, CT on 8/27/17. Make sure you get to at least one or all of them!
Remember this folks, we’re all in this together. That being said, nothing beats great music like great music with all your best friends!