Walter Trout set out to make a crunching album of guitar-driven blues-rock, and that’s just what he has done with Common Ground. Like a latter-day Lonnie Mack, Trout combines elements of blues, country, soul and rock to reinvigorate a genre that can at times seem moribund. “May Be a Fool” kicks off the proceedings convincingly, courtesy of wailing harp, twangy guitar and a rhythm section that doesn’t so much tear the roof off as vaporize it entirely. The rest of the album paints a variety of sonic textures, with slow songs like “Open Book” providing oases of respite between foot-stompers like “Loaded Gun” and “No Regrets”, which sounds almost like a lost Jimi Hendrix blues tune. Trout’s voice is expressive enough to convey angst in “Her Other Man”, tenderness in “Song for My Guitar” or humor in “Hudson Had Help.” He won’t win any awards for envelope-pushing, but he sure knows how to pick, stomp, and holler. That’s plenty.
// Notes from the Road
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