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Rock and blues veteran Walter Trout recently reached a milestone that many musicians only dream about. The singer and guitarist celebrated his 20th year as a soloist with a new album, Unspoiled By Progress.
New Jersey native Walter Trout may be one of Europe's best-kept secrets. After years of touring in Belgium and The Netherlands, Trout has drawn a loyal following of fans across the continent. In fact, his international Fan Club, founded in 1996, now boasts members in 14 countries in Europe and Asia.
Walter Trout's blues career actually dates back to the mid-1960s, when he switched from playing jazz trumpet to electric guitar. He says his first exposure to the blues was a little-publicized concert by legendary guitarist Buddy Guy.
"He was the first actual bluesman that I saw live when I was, I think, 16," Trout says. "I went to a little place in Philadelphia with a friend of mine, and Buddy Guy was playing in a little tiny club; and there were maybe 30 people in there. He played for four hours and I was just awestruck at the show that he did. At one point he actually had us come up and we just sat on the stage among the band. That's how few people there were. Ever since then he's really been my favorite."
Walter made a name for himself playing guitar for Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. When he was ready to go solo, his first order of business was hiring a great band.
"Putting a good band together is an art unto itself," he notes. "It doesn't matter if you have the greatest players in the world, if they can't play together as a unit, it doesn't matter. So, getting the right combination and the right chemistry is really the secret to it."
Walter describes the past 20 years on stage as an "incredible journey." His new CD relives some of his best performances from concerts in England, Germany, The Netherlands and the U.S. The track "Somebody's Acting Like A Child" comes from a show at Perq's Nightclub in California, marking his launch as a bandleader.
Walter says he took a giant leap of faith when he decided to branch out on his own.
"When I went solo in '89 I wasn't sure what to expect. I didn't know if it was going to work for me or not, and now I look back and go 'Wow!' It's been quite a ride so far and I'm still going," Trout says.
Walter recorded three new songs for his album Unspoiled By Progress, including "They Call Us The Working Class."