Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

Walter Trout with Tommy Odetto
Walter Trout with Tommy Odetto

Walter Trout with Tommy Odetto at the Aladdin Theater on 03/16/17

By BRENT ANGELO // Back and blasting again.

Blues is a powerful form of music and comes from the heart and soul. There is one man, who knows the blues well. His name is Walter Trout.

In his younger years, he had a hard family life that led him to the healing power of playing music. It would become his saving grace. He left his home in New Jersey and headed out to Los Angeles in the early 70s where he would play with everyone he could. His live playing talents caught the interests of bands like Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, who he played with before pursuing his own solo career.

His fiery and wild style of guitar playing grew as did his substance abuses. Those wild years took a toll of his body. In 2013, Walter Trout began to have liver troubles. He got very ill and would spend 8 months in the hospital. His body weight dropped drastically, he would lose a lot of everyday abilities like walking, memory and even his powerful guitar playing. Friends, family, and fans rallied giving donations to help cover the cost of the transplant, but it was single one organ donor who donated their liver that would finally save him. He beat death and would rally back. To see him get better, return to playing music and for us in Portland to get a show the Aladdin shows his remarkable strength.

As Walter Trout and his band first came out, at first glance he was happy, looked healthy and once he got the guitar in hand, he truly BACK. He would pay tribute to the loss of James Cotton early on with “Say Goodbye To The Blues”. Walter got back to rocking with "Ride Until I'm Satisfied" by his older band The Free Radicals. The show then went deep into his troubled past with songs from his 2015 Battle Scars record. “Almost Gone” showed his pain and how close he came to losing his life. He thanked Curtis Salgado and gave him credit for giving him the doctor’s phone number that would save his life. He also sent Curtis his best wishes as Curtis is currently having his own heart issues.

His personal stories of that tough eight months in the hospital hit hardest in “Haunted By the Night” and you could feel his love in “Please Take Me Home” that was dedicated to his wife, Marie for all her love and support through that tough time. “Playing Hideaway” really soared and got the crowd really going even singing back for the band. Walter ended on a powerful version of the blues, classic “Goin’ Down”. In a special encore, he returned brought out a special guest, Rae Gordon. Walter was a judge in a blues contest a little while back when he first saw Rae perform. He was impressed by her and brought out this Oregon City native to jam her original “Happy Home”. Walter left the stage to massive applause. It was so great having him back and his performance showed he may have scars, but you cannot keep a great musician down.

Walter Trout currently has a 2cd live set “Alive in Amsterdam”. It is worth checking out. We have new music to look forward to as well. Walter mentioned at the Aladdin show that he is currently recording a new album, “We’re All In This Together”. The new album will feature numerous blues greats and should be out this Summer.

Opening the show was an impressive new guitar player, Tommy Odetto. He was high energy and full of passion. His band sounded solid and put on a strong, opening performance. Tommy is currently working on his own recording project. He caught the eye of Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters) and is set to record at the now famous 606 Studios made famous in Dave’s Sound City documentary. If you want to check out his project and even donate to the cause, you will be helping support one man’s dream project.

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