Walter Trout’s 20th album is called Common Ground, but for the visionary roots singer, songwriter and guitarist that’s more than a title.
It’s where Trout’s compelling music resides — in a territory that unites the worlds of blues, rock and pure sonic adventurism, where inspiration and technique meet to create a unique, soulful language. In a sense, the title also describes Trout’s personal geography. Although he lives in California, he spends much of his life on the road bridging the U.S and Europe, where he’s so well-known and respected that the United Kingdom’s BBC Radio One placed the Stratocaster master at number six on their list of the Top 20 guitarists of all time. Legendary BBC disc jockey, Bob Harris, in his book “The Whispering Years” calls Trout: “The world’s greatest rock guitarist.” (p. 186)
But the title track of Trout’s new release is also a prayer. “If there’s a place where the truth can still be found,’ he sings, “Lord, lead us to the common ground.”
“I am blown away by the polarization and cruelty in the world today,” Trout explains. “It goes beyond my understanding. I wrote the lyrics to that song as an attempt to come to terms with that, and as a wish that somehow — regardless of our faiths and nationalities and politics — we can find a place where truth and compassion can take us beyond our differences.”
Trout’s soaring warm guitar matches the plainspoken tenderness of the lyrics of Common Ground for a performance that sounds truly inspired, especially in the song’s concluding solo where Trout makes his six-string speak with the eloquence of a traveling tent revival preacher.
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