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The Many Hues of the Blues

It's unfortunate when certain artists play blues music without even exploring the boundaries of the genre. Compare them to the more creative musicians who lived to pepper their blues with a variety of colors, such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Robert Cray — and really, there's no comparison at all. Walter Trout's name could be included there as well; he took his apprenticeship with such esteemed masters as Big Mama Thornton, John Lee Hooker, and Canned Heat, to name but a few, before venturing out on his own nearly 20 years ago. And although blues music is typically etched with tangled laments about cheating spouses, misbegotten pursuits, and the woes of working for the Man, Trout's lived the misery first-hand. He overcame addictions to drugs and booze before reaping commercial success overseas and critical kudos at home. His latest album, Full Circle, bows under an apt title, because it offers an opportunity to reconnect with like-minded collaborators — John Mayall, Jeff Healey, Bernard Allison, and Guitar Shorty among them. It's an effort flush with powerful, passionate performances, a hint of what to expect when Trout and his dynamic band, the Radicals, rip through their riffs onstage.


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