Walter Trout’s guitar skills are unquestioned. In fact, his playing often turns mediocre songs into decent songs. At times, though, his music has lacked urgency. That’s not the case with Common Ground, where all 12 cuts work on a number of levels.
Trout wrote most of the music here, mixing rock, blues, and soul. The title cut is a soul ballad with fine Curtis- Mayfield-style licks and a soaring solo. Trout’s tone is perfect; when he needs a nasty sound to match the lyric (as on “Danger Zone” and the shuff le “Wrapped Up In the Blues”) it’s there, while on the blues-rock ballad “Her Other Man” he plays a soaring melody before turning a blistering, soulful solo. “May Be A Fool” starts as an acoustic country blues and turns into a pounding blues rocker that lets Trout show off his considerable chops.
Backed by a veteran group including Kenny Aronoff (drums), James Hutchinson (bass), and Jon Cleary (keyboards), it’s nice to see Trout put a little extra juice into this effort.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Dec. ’10 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.