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Music Review: Walter Trout – The Outsider

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Following his excellent 2006 release, Full Circle, Walter Trout's The Outsider sees the artist doing what he does best. Huge guitar sounds, powerful riffs and electrifying soloing dominate this record, serving to remind us that Trout is still very much a force to be reckoned with.

Opener "Welcome To The Human Race" is an autobiographical rocker, addressing the highs and lows of his Trout’s 35 year-long career, focusing on the music industry’s fickle nature. "I’ve been loved and I’ve been hated/I’ve been packaged and presented," he sings, straining his seasoned voice with every syllable. It’s an emotive start to an awe-inspiring release.

The themes of self-reflection, fortune, and fame are highly prominent, no more so than on the title track, where Trout addresses the struggle of being an outsider, no doubt based on his own experiences trying to break into the mainstream.

Walter’s playing is diverse, from the straight blues shuffle of "Can’t Have It All," to the hard rocking "Don’t Wanna Fall," and the powerful acoustic ballad "Turn Your Eyes To Heaven." On these tracks and more, his dynamic range has been perfectly orchestrated.

Trout’s guitar playing is impeccable throughout, breathing new life into the simplest twelve bar forms, and adding tasteful guitar parts at every turn. His vocal performance and songwriting are impressive and, whereas his previous album Full Circle relied on special guests, this is very much Trout’s individual labour of love.

It's obvious that he is speaking from the heart, from the perspective of an aging bluesman fighting for survival in an all too 'brave' new world. It's a world that both saddens the artist, and fortifies his resilience in the face of it all.  "The streets are getting meaner, it's so hard to survive, doing all you can to stay alive" sings Trout, plaintive and world-weary but with a undertone of defiance.

Rarely do you find an artist continuing to grow and invigorate their playing after so long in the business. This release highlights the fact that Walter Trout is just such an artist. Open the door and let him in!

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