Walter Trout – Ordinary Madness | Album Review

Walter Trout – Ordinary Madness

Provogue Records

11 songs time – 57:45

Guitar slinger Walter Trout has a prime resume’ that includes time spent as one of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, member of Canned Heat, work with John Lee Hooker as well as his long standing solo career. Given his reputation as one of the premier blues-rock guitarists of recent times, the song structures, lyrics and his vocal abilities are the first things that jumped out at me. Of course his searing guitar leads are still there and are one of the elements that make this an enjoyable listen. He is supported by a sturdy rhythm section and various keyboard players and background vocalists. All songs are written by Trout or with his wife Marie with an assist on one by blues singer Teeny Tucker.

Throughout the lyrics attain a depth and a heartfelt authenticity typically absent from music with a blues-rock bent. The words aren’t just a toss-away vehicle that leads to guitar mayhem, although there is no lack of guitar gymnastics.

I pick up a definite cinematic-film noir vibe from the title song “Ordinary Madness”. The song maintains a level of coolness. The intro FX are courtesy of one Space Fish. It’s sounds like a mixture of backwards tapes and electronic effects, but I digress. The lyrical content is way cool-“It’s under the counter, it’s under the rug”. Even his soloing has a cool restraint to it. Careful craftsmanship was truly at work here.

By the second song “Wanna Dance” it hits me that the guy has a smooth and emotional vocal delivery. The theme is about the eventuality of death, so the narrator just wants to dance with his loved one. “My Foolish Pride” is a heartfelt piano infused ballad. Skip Edwards does the gentle piano under Walter’s soaring guitar outro. Leaving home for potentially greener pastures is the gist of “Heartland”. The inclusion of accordion and acoustic guitar add quaintness juxtaposed to the ever present soaring electric guitar.

Teeny Tucker and Marie Trout assisted Walter on composing the slow intense blues of “All Out Of Tears”. The emotion is echoed in the notes of his guitar. He again touches on the theme of the eventual ending for us all in “Final Curtain Call”. “Someday I know I’m gonna hit the wall”. A great guitar riff and blazing harmonica by Walter seems to lessen the blow. The haunting and atmospheric riff amongst organ, Wurlitzer and guitar throughout “The Sun Is Going Down” is utterly mesmerizing.

The ringing guitars of “Up Above My Sky” achieve a hypnotic effect. He takes things out on a bombastic note with the charging noise of “Ok Boomer”.

Well folks it really doesn’t get any better than this, a fully realized and performed work with attention to every last detail and not a slick or stiff moment to be found. Blues-rock, blues and roots it’s all here in fine fashion. I really never realized this guy had the vocal chops to compliment his blazing guitar. Major stuff here!

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