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Monday, Sept. 20, 2010

Walter Trout

Common Ground (Provogue)

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In press materials accompanying his latest album, Common Ground, singer/guitarist Walter Trout claims that “I’ve almost created my own genre.” While a comment like that smacks of narcissism, it’s also tough to argue. Over the course of two decades and 19 albums, the former member of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers has blazed a musical trail of bold, rock-oriented blues that’s made him a sensation in Europe, though he remains an underappreciated late bloomer in his native United States.

Common Ground quakes with the kind of blistering guitar solos missing from most modern-day blues albums, as the rowdy roadhouse jam “Loaded Gun” attests. But more introspective pieces, such as the title track (a prayer for universal understanding), reveal Trout’s tender lyrical and vocal sides. The blending of acoustic and electric guitars on “Her Other Man” and “Open Book” evoke ’70s-era Southern rock with a modern flair, and even “Wrapped Up in the Blues” (oozing with tradition) sounds fresh.