Returning to his best form

By Sergio Ariza

Albums of 'duets' are usually a swindle; an excuse when an artist has exhausted their inspiration and seeks attention by using the name of their guest. However, Walter Trout's We’re All In This Together is clearly an exception to this, as the ex Bluesbreaker has taken the time to compose a piece for each of his guests (with the exception of Warren Haynes with whom he covers The sky is crying, which they had previously played together in a Gov’t Mule performance) and provided them with a vehicle on which they can shine and contribute all that they know. And that is a lot: we are talking about a list that includes, between other, Joe Bonamassa, the aforementioned Haynes, his ex-boss John Mayall, Edgar Winter, Charlie Musselwhite, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Randy Bachman, Sonny Landreth, Eric Gales and Robben Ford.  

But beyond the names is the music and the songs. Clearly Trout is not breaking any mould here as this is the blues rock of always - which is very well played by the way, as on The other side of the pillow, which unites him with his ex-colleague of Canned Heat Charlie Musselwhite and on which he can demonstrate his mastery of the harmonica. Or the title song on which he joins up with the great Joe Bonamassa, and on which the two can play to their hearts content, with Trout demonstrating that the Fender Stratocaster that he bought in 1973, and has continued playing since then, can still hack it in the top league.

However if there is one song that stands out above all the rest it is She Listens To The Blackbird Sing with Mike Zito of the Royal Southern Brotherhood, which makes you miss all the more the great Gregg Allman, thinking that Trout and Zito could have formed part of a new encarnation of his mythic band. This is well demonstrated in the only cover version on the record, The sky is crying, in which Trout shows that he is capable of hanging in there with one of the mythic ex-guitarists of the Allmans, namely Warren Haynes, in this great Elmore James classic.

It is clear that the best that we can take from this album is that Trout has overcome his serious illness and has returned to his best form. We’re All In This Together will not change the life of anyone, and neither does it seek to, but it is head and shoulders above the typical duet albums, with each participant giving the best of themselves and with Trout showing once again why he pertains to that exclusive club of guitarists from the Bluesbreaker school.

(Images: © Austin Hargrave)