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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Provogue Records artist: Walter Trout - Battle Scars - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Battle Scars, from Walter Trout, and if has a definite mellowing and maturation but keeps the fire. Opening with Almost Gone, a blues based rocker with a feel of Led Zep blended with Aerosmith. Rock solid drumming from Michael Leasure and rich vocal harmonies along with harp overtones balance out Trouts flaming hot guitar riffs. Great opener! Omaha opens with romping tom tom work and Trout singing almost in a field of smoke. An onslaught of guitar enters with high dynamic quality and then disappears as quickly as it came. Nice rocker. Throw out some funk and Trout is doing the boogaloo on Tomorrow Seems So Far Away. I really can't describe how it's different but I like Trout's vocals more than earlier seeming more smooth and hearty. A real nice harp solo grounded by Sammy Avila on keys and Johnny Griparic on bass creates a solid mix. Ballad, Please Take Me Home, is so creamy it could be the Eagles. Nicely blended vocals and solid guitar accompaniment enriched by the key work of Avila gives this track extremely solid radio potential. You want to know if Trout lays it out..of course he does but in a more controlled melodic bluesy fashion. Perfect radio track. Butt kicker Playin' Hideaway has all of the flare that you would expect from Billy G track. Trout's vocals are unmistakable and Leasure's drumming is solid. I really like Trout's alternate approach to guitar soloing on this track, fresh, but unmistakably Trout. Haunted By The Night has an interesting guitar interlude on it with cool volume swells. Trout has always used his share of swells but these feel particularly haunting like I've only experienced listening to the great Roy Buchanan. Interesting track. Rocker, Fly Away, features really developed vocal lines with nicely blended harmonies and a definite hook. Trout takes his strat on a spin but as in any great band, it's the drums that make it fly and Leasure is rock solid. Move On is another solid rocker and another track with much more developed melody and vocal lines. I particularly like Trout's guitar soloing on this track taking it on a nice ride without going over the edge. Slipping on the slide and getting a little funky again, Trout leads My Ship Came In. Avila's organ work against Trout's rhythm guitar work sets the stage. Again harp work takes a lead and Trout spills out some haunting guitar swells before kicking it open and letting it all out. Great rocker! One of my favorite tracks on the release, Cold, Cold Ground, is a hot lumbering blues. You want to hear Trout grip it and rip you go! What initially attracted me to Trout wasn't his fast fingering or explosive riffs but his ability to lay down highly emotional guitar phrases and squeeze great tone. This is the track! Excellent! Wrapping the release is cowboy style ballad, Gonna Live Again. Without sounding cliche, it has the renewed sound of a man on a new train. His vocals are distinctively Trout, with his voice sounding more familiar against a style that is almost foreign to my expectancy. I like it! This is a different kind of release from Walter and one that definitely deserves exploration!

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