Walter Trout’s latest epic Common Ground represents everything I love about music. His 20th album is extremely well written, well executed tunes, with Walter’s heartfelt guitar playing (He was voted the #6 all tine finest guitarist in a poll in Great Britain), his ultra pleasing vocal style, and his uncanny ability to keep the music fresh. All 12 songs are brilliant, yet no two are even remotely the same. I like that.
“Song for My Guitar” is a beautiful, melodic love song to that one girl who will never let you down. The song flashes me back to all the sounds I loved during the early 1970’s. So does “No Regrets” and the kick ass “Loaded Gun.”
And speaking of melody and mood, the title track “Common Ground” is absolutely breathtaking. It is a spiritual tune that defies categories. It is gospel, it is Southern Rock. It is uplifting. And the moody guitar solo swept me away to that rare musical place I so long to visit. Calm, with an overwhelming sense of inner peace, eyes closed, just swaying with the music.
This is not to say that Walter Trout, whom I have been loving since at least 1992, is in competition with Enya or something. His smoother songs are beautiful to be sure, but the brother can rock. From the slam down rock of “May Be a Fool” to the Stevie Ray vibe of “Eyes of a Child,” Walter tears it up.
Common Ground is undoubtedly one of the finest records of the year, and one that simply demands repeat listening. Trout’s music never gets old. If you don’t love this album, there’s just something wrong. As good as it gets in my opinion.
- Michael Buffalo Smith