Walter troutpick-of-the-monthWalter Trout might be swimming upstream these days, but The Blues Came Callin' is a fine catch for blues fans everywhere.

The Blues Came Callin'
Artist: Walter Trout
Provogue / Mascot Label Group
12 tracks / 57 minutes

You really only have one question when you're looking for a good blues album: does it groove? The Blues Came Callin' does indeed groove – and it delivers all of the soul, funk, and fire that you expect to get in about an hour's worth of low-down jams and bluesy rock and roll.

The usual subjects are covered in the twelve songs (two are instrumentals), but it's the usual subjects that we expect from a blues album. Somewhat of an edge is added to the more introspective songs like "Wastin' Away" and "The Bottom of The River" when you realize that Trout has been fighting for his very life, with a liver transplant bringing its own unwelcome delivery of blues.

"Looking in the mirror and I don't know who I see, so I take another look, and it still don't look like me."
"Wasting Away"

Having lost over 100 pounds and significantly weakened, Trout still manages to turn out impassioned, fiery blues solos, although his vocals – still effective - show signs of wear. The band supports the songs powerfully and with feeling – a solid unit with a driving, earthy sound. The circumstances of this fine project don't really change the fact one way or another – this is smokin' blues.

Trout's 25 year solo career has produced a lot of fine music and an impressive list of connections (John Mayall is featured on two tracks here), but what shines through on The Blues Came Callin' is the soul of Walter Trout - not just his chops as a player, but his resiliency, as Trout – like his namesake – metaphorically swims upstream.

-Bert Saraco

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