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Walter Trout
Strand Theatre Hudson Falls
Hudson Falls, NY
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Aug 24, 2024 8:00 PM

Admission Level Price Quantity
balcony seating $30.00 ($33.29 w/service fee)
Floor Seating $35.00 ($38.59 w/service fee)
(United States - Change Country)


Walter Trout
All of us are broken. But no-one is beyond repair. Its a philosophy that WALTER TROUT has lived by during seven volatile decades at the heart of Americas society and blues-rock scene. Even now, with the world more fractured than ever  by politics, economics, social media and culture wars  the fabled US bluesmans latest album, Broken, chronicles the bitter schisms of modern life but refuses to succumb to them.

Ive always tried to write positive songs, and this album is not quite that, considers the 72-year-old of an all-original tracklisting that rages and soothes. But I always hold on to hope. I think thats why I wrote this album.

For the last half-century, however rocky his path, hope has always lit the way. The beats of Trouts unbelievable story are well-known: the traumatic childhood in Ocean City, New Jersey; the audacious move to the West Coast in 74; the auspicious but chaotic sideman shifts with John Lee Hooker and Big Mama Thornton; the raging addictions that somehow never stopped the boogie when he was with Canned Heat in the early-80s.

Even now, some will point to Trouts mid-80s guitar pyrotechnics in the lineup of John Mayalls legendary Bluesbreakers as his career high point. But for a far greater majority of fans, the blood, heart and soul of his solo career since 1989 is the main event, the bluesmans songcraft always reaching for some greater truth, forever surging forward, never shrinking back.

Its a peerless creative streak underlined by the guitarists regular triumphs at ceremonies including the Blues Music Awards, SENA European Guitar Awards, British Blues Awards and Blues Blast Music Awards. The iconic British DJ Whispering Bob Harris spoke for millions when he declared Trout the worlds greatest rock guitarist in his 2001 autobiography, The Whispering Years.  

If he were a less questing artist, Trout could mark time and dine out on those past glories, leaving the polemics and calls-to-arms to a younger generation. But thats not enough, considers the still-hungry veteran. I have to grow. I want to be a vital contributing artist. I dont want to come out every night and play my first hit, Life In The Jungle. I feel young. I know Im not. But in my head, Im still 25, still wanting to get better and do something I havent before. I have more to say.

As the pandemic burnt out, Trout got back to business: the career-long cycle of writing, touring and resting still as natural to him as breathing. But scarcely had the worlds turntable needles dropped on his latest album, 2022s Ride, when Trout felt the first tingles of incoming inspiration. Alternating between his homes in the remote Danish fishing village of Vorupør and Huntington Beach, California  or sometimes even in the back of the van, still slick with sweat after that nights gig  the twelve songs of Broken demanded to be born.

A lot of times I put on headphones, listen to music that gets me emotional, and then start just writing lyrics, explains Trout of a process that still fascinates him. I think these songs are as honest as I can be. The band came down to my house for rehearsals so we could just go in the studio and blow through this stuff.

Kingsize Soundlabs in LA was the scene of the crime  a familiar Trout Band haunt that also hosted 2019s Survivor Blues  and producer Eric Corne once again the man behind the glass. This is our 15th album together, calculates the bluesman. Eric and I just have a way of working, man. A friend who came into the studio and watched us and said, Man, you guys are like a machine. Its unspoken.

A few collaborators joined Trout for the first time. I thought my friend Beth Hart could relate to the title track, Broken, he says of the warrior princess whose fiery vocals coil with his own. With that song, I was looking at the world  especially whats going on in the United States  but also thinking about my recovery from the things that happened to me. I had the first verse  Pieces of me seem to break away/I lose a little more every day. But it was almost too much for me to go back into that shit. So my wife, Marie, was able to help me with the lyrics  and she nailed it. The guitar solo, thats maybe my favourite on the record. I tracked it with the band, one take. I wanted to see if I could beat it  but they wouldnt let me!

Another set of star guests supply the rocket fuel on two of the albums most rocking cuts, Ive Had Enough and Bleed. Dee Snider from Twisted Sister put up a live cut of me on his Twitter and said: Listen to this fucking guitar hero. We started talking, became friends, he came into the studio and I knew I had to write him a song. So Im thinking, Well, he did Were Not Gonna Take It. So I wrote Ive Had Enough. And its rockin, big time. Bleed came about when we were pretty much done. My drummer Michael Leasure said to me, Hey, Walter, you played with John Lee Hooker and Canned Heat, this is your 31st album and youve never played a boogie. Whats the deal? So I said, OK, fuck it, lets do a boogie. I can kinda play harmonica, but I thought, Lets elevate this thing. Theres a young harmonica player in England whos the best Ive ever heard, Will Wilde. He has the soul and the power of Paul Butterfield, but couples that with blinding virtuoso technique.  

Elsewhere, in a flash of telepathy, Trout discovered the line he was singing as a placeholder lyric for the cowboy blues of Turn And Walk Away had already been written by Marie (I have a box of lyrics, and I find this piece of paper, in my wifes handwriting, from twenty years ago and the first line says: It never occurred to me that you would ever set me free. It fit the song perfectly). As for the blues tune, Courage In The Dark, Trout believes it took no more than ten minutes. I was actually reading a book of poetry in the van, and the line was something like, In a world of darkness, its a necessity that you hold on to your courage.

For the wistful Talkin To Myself, Trout took inspiration from the hits that crackled from AM radio in his youth, paired with a lyric about his habit of yelling at the hotel TV on the road, and a highly successful first attempt to play a vintage electric sitar (Yknow, its 66, youre riding in your car, and Paul Revere and The Raiders comes on  I wanted this song to sound like that). But on No Magic (in the street), he acknowledges the march of time. Ive been living here in Huntington Beach for 50 years. For decades, I knew everybody on Main Street: Hey Walter, whats goin on? But I took a walk down there recently and realised theres a new generation, with their own Steinbeckian society, and I felt like an anachronism. So when I say theres no more magic out on the streets now, thats just for me.

No words were required for the tender instrumental Love Of My Life (Of course, its about Marie), while the bluesmans muse of three decades also inspired the gossamer balladry of I Wanna Stay (Im whispering that song  its meant to be as quiet and gentle and possible. Thats about the first time I made love to my wife). The bright-eyed soul of Breathe was written by keyboardist, Richard T Bear and reimagined by Trout with a nod to the Faces heart-wrenching Debris. I told the bass player Jamie Hunting, I want you to play like Ronnie Lane here. And I told Skip Edwards, the piano player: I want Ian McLagan. And they nailed it.  

Then comes a wildcard, in the form of the scalded, spacey, spoken-word punk-blues Heaven Or Hell. I met an old blind man on the street, explains Trout. I gave him a little money to eat, he started preaching, and I went back to my room and wrote a poem about what he said. I couldnt sing it, I couldnt fit it into music, so I told Eric, Im just gonna speak it.

For most of the new record, Trout reached for his battle-scarred Fender Stratocaster or Delaney signature model, plugging into his trusty Mesa/Boogie MkIV stage amp (no pedals required). But for the closing Falls Apart, he pushed the sonic envelope. Anyone who thinks Im just a blues guy, Im gonna hit them with my version of Pink Floyd, he laughs. That outro has three different electric guitar rhythms, and two acoustic guitar rhythms in different inversions. Then theres a Nashville-tuned guitar. Our middle child Biscuit, AKA Captain Buzzface, wrote the song and arranged and sang all the background vocals. I think that the kid wrote an epic song that is very fitting for the state of the world today. I have a hard time getting through that one without breaking down.

With gallows humour, Trout notes that his new album opens with a track called Broken and ends with one called Falls Apart. He cant deny the socio-political mood in the air, and as such, between those two bookends lie some of the most personal, bruised songs of his career (albeit twinned to some of his most rocking and defiant guitar work). Yet as the man says, as long as theres love and music, there is always a light to guide us. That Sixties idealism still burns in me and I want to make music that means something or helps somebody. I may be naïve but Im ok with that. In the face of whats happening in the world, I will stubbornly hold on to my idealism   and hope. I want to make music that matters


Strand Theatre Hudson Falls (View)
210 Main Street
Hudson Falls, NY 12839
United States


Music > Blues

Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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