Walter Trout and the blues: Only the strong survive

By MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Walter Trout, the venerable blues guitarist, was in the car with his wife.

The couple were listening to the blues station on satellite radio.

At some point, the announcer cued up a brand new blues band. And to his dismay, Trout said the band was playing the umpteenth version of “Got My Mojo Working” from Preston “Red” Foster.

Even though blues recordings date back to the 1920, when Charlie Patton laid down the first tracks, “Everybody does the same 20 songs,” said Trout, who is coming to Fairfield on April 16, Old Saybrook on April 17, and Pawling, N.Y. on April 20.

“There’s a massive history, a beautiful rich history (to the blues),” said Trout, “but so much of it is forgotten and overlooked.”

So, Trout decided he wanted to reintroduce music fans to the blues. Thus, Trout recorded his latest effort “Survivor Blues.”

For the album, Trout recorded often forgotten blues gems.

“It was fun to research and delve into the history of this genre,” said Trout. “I kept discovering artists I never heard of.”

To figure out what artist to spotlight and record, Trout started doing research in his own record collection. He had numerous boxed sets and collections of old blues recordings, said the guitarist.

The internet also provided a treasure trove of forgotten blues tracks. When he searched on YouTube, he would listen to one artist and beneath the file, the website recommended other recordings he might beinterested.

“I was blown away (by what I found).”

There was no direct criteria to figure out what songs would make the final cut for “Survivor’s Blues,” said Trout. Each artist Trout chose to cover took a different approach to the blues.

Trout said he did not try to duplicate what were on the recordings. “I tried to take the spirit of the original and make it my own,” said Trout. “I wanted to Walter Trout-ize it.”

The goal for Trout of the record is to turn his audience on to the originals.

Fans on his mailing list and his Facebook have been treated to explanations as to why Trout chose the songs. Trout also has been posting links to the original artists he picked for the album.

“I want people to go back, I want them to realize there’s so much out there.”

The title of the album, “Survivor’s Blues,” has several meanings, said Trout. First of all, he said, it refers to the songs on the album. “These songs survived in their beauty and their relevance and we’re helping them survive.”

Additionally, Trout said the blues itself has survived. “There always will be an audience for it…”

“Survivor’s Blues” also reflects the personal stories of Trout and his band. In 2014, liver disease almost ended Trout’s life. Other members of the band have survived triple bypasses and addictions. They are survivors.

“These guys are up in their years and they have been through a lot,” said Trout.

When he comes to the area, Trout said his set list will include “a little bit of everything.” He will play several tracks from “Survivor’s Blues.” But, he also will do some older favorites from the past 28 albums.

Walter Trout performs at the Fairfield Theater Company on Stage One, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:45 p.m. For more information, go to FairfieldTheatre.org.

He performs at The Kate, 300 Main St., Old Saybrook on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, go to katharinehepburntheater.org.

Trout also performs at Daryl’s House, 130 Route 22, Pawling, N.Y. on Saturday, April 20 at 8 p.m. For more information, go to DarylsHouseClub.com.

For more information, go to WalterTrout.com.

Blues guitarist Walter Trout has three dates coming up in the area.

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