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The Blues Came Callin’
Walter Trout
Label: Provogue
Release Date: June 10, 2014
Review Date: June 09, 2014

It’s always a special treat when Boomerocity receives the latest Walter Trout project in the mail.  It was no different when I received my review copy early last month of his new album, “The Blues Came Callin’”.  However, this time the addition of audio bliss into my treasure chest of favorite blues tunes came with a real heavy dose of blues of a different sort.

Last year, news broke that Trout was fighting for his life after being diagnosed with a deadly liver disease.  The result was going from a robust look to a skeletal one after losing 100lbs.  This also interfered with plans to celebrate his 25th year as a solo artist.

Before Walter received his life-saving liver transplant, his wife, Marie, said, “For five years, Walter, Provogue Records, and I have worked towards making Walter's 25th year as a solo artist a special celebratory event.  But the festivities will have to wait.  Walter is urgently in need of a liver transplant.  It has been heart-breaking for me to watch Walter struggle through these past many months, as we tried various treatment options provided by Walter's doctors and liver specialists.  One by one the treatments failed.  Yet through it all, Walter's courage and determination continually amazed me.  

“Even as he has become a shadow of his former self, after losing 100 pounds and much of his strength, he continued touring, writing, playing, singing and recording.  Music and playing for people offered Walter what it always has: It is therapy and a life-line for him when the Blues comes callin'.  Thus the theme of this album is colored by his confrontation with mortality combined with a deep, all-abiding desire to persevere, and a good dose of typical Walter'esque life-affirming defiance!"

Ed van Zijl of Provogue and Mascot Label Group said, "When Walter re-joined Provogue in 2008 we talked about a plan leading up to the 25th Anniversary of his career as a solo artist which is this year, 2014.  Besides a brand new album we also made a book and a documentary to not only to make people aware of the 25th anniversary, but also to have people realize just how good and how important an artist Walter is for the blues rock genre worldwide; a phenomenal guitar player and an even greater person; always speaking from the heart and always in for a good joke.  

Van Zijl continued on to say, “The touring set up for 2014 was fantastic with shows at the prestigious North Sea Jazz Festival and the Carre Theater in Amsterdam amongst many other great ones.  Instead of being out there on the road giving his usual all to his many fans night after night, Walter is fighting for his life and there is nothing to celebrate at the moment.  This is so very, very sad and we are all praying for Walter to come out on top.  The album will be released as planned, and Walter definitely wants this one to be heard.  In the meantime our hearts are with Walter and his family."

 “The Blues Came Callin’” takes a look at Trout’s nearly 50 year journey singing and playing the blues.  The album is an unfiltered look into Walter’s very soul as he contemplates life and his own mortality.  

Trout said, "To play my music for people has become even more important to me.  When I think about looking out into the crowds of people and connecting with everyone on a soul level, and sharing the experience of music with them, this is what keeps me fighting to get back: My family and my music is my lifeline.  These days, it means more to me than ever before."

Despite Trout’s ailing health, the album demonstrates a nearly supernatural strength that defied the odds.  “The Blues Came Callin’” was recorded throughout the year last year and offers up twelve tunes – all but two being Trou originals.  One of the two is a J.B. Lenoir cover and the other is a song written by Trout’s long-time friend, John Mayall. All twelve songs are blues as blues should be played and as only Walter Trout can play them.

Let’s hope and pray that Walter remains with us for many more years to come so that he can continue to do what he does best: Play us the blues.