The cover photo of this album show a battle-weary man who has admittedly faced death more than once. Walter Trout’s life was on the brink several times as he was awaiting a liver transplant. Now fairly well recovered, Walter is back in the studio creating new rocking blues songs that tell the tales of his disease and recovery after his transplant.
Wanting to write upbeat tunes, Trout was not satisfied with them thinking they sounded cliché. So he went deep into his feelings and experience for inspiration. “Omaha” is the first song he wrote, depicting 5 months of his life in the Nebraska Medical Center where the patients awaited death as transplant organs were not always available. Dark, thumping, guttural sounding beat and tune, Trout describes the wait with no holds barred. The guitar solo is massive in sound and texture. “Almost Gone,” the album’s opening song is another moving piece with a finger picking guitar opening and then a wall of sound that confronts the listener appears. Before recovering, the listener then gets some huge harmonica solo stuck in their face by Trout. He tells us how he’d change his life if he could do it all over. These two tracks are what Trout has made his bread and butter– big, emotional guitar pieces with a backing to match.
It does not stop there. “Tomorrow Seems Far Away” follows “Omaha,” with a more upbeat tempo yet still with haunting lyrics. “Please Take Me Home” is a ballad sung to his manager and wife asking her to be taken home so he could end his suffering. Acoustic guitar and piano blend into the wall of sound as Trout shows appreciation for the love his wife gave him. “Playin’ Hideaway” is a huge, driving song about masking tears and emotion as Trout howls and the guitar wails. “Haunted By The Night” slows it down as Trout tells of how the evenings stuck in bed drove him crazy. The guitar is haunting beautiful.
“Fly Away” tells us how his wife’s love and being there for him made him feel as if they could fly away. “Move On” gives us another piece where he sings about wanting to get away from the pain he endured. “My Ship Came In” has some more cool harp work by Trout as he sings to us about missing the tour that he never was able to have when he became ill. “Cold, Cold Ground” opens to a moving guitar solo and then trout tells of how he awaited death and burial in the cold, cold ground. The acoustic “Gonna Live Again” has Trout asking God why he allowed him to live. He does not know the reason, but vows to change his earlier bad ways. “Sammy, Sammy” concludes the effort, a huge, short chord of sound to end things as Trout chuckles to the sound man in the booth that he’s done.
50 years of guitar playing, 18 albums on Provogue and 42 albums overall are landmark statistics for this man’s career and due to his fortune and fortitude those numbers can continue to increase. Thematically interesting and moving, another super effort by Trout! Not an upbeat album but a fine one none the less! Trout’s fans will be pleased and newcomers can see through his music what trials he has faced. Well done!!!