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Interview:
Bluesman Walter Trout is back, healthy and rocking again
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Walter Trout is happy to be singing the blues these days. Happier than you can imagine.

The singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader -- a veteran of Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers -- was laid with health issues for the better part of year after receiving a liver transplant in May of 2014. As of mid-June he's back on the road, has a new album on the way and is ready to make up for lost time.

"What does it feel like? I could try, but words would be inadequate," Trout, 64, says by phone from his home in California. "I'm amazed, grateful, overjoyed to be alive. And the people who supported me while I was sick -- with messages and letter and prayers and financial support -- I feel now like I have a responsibility to them, which is to go out and play my music for them and do it as best I can."

Trout is, in fact, still getting his musical legs back, as well as the callouses on his fingers that softened during his time away from the stage. "That was really tough, man," notes Trout, whose comeback was June 15 at London's prestigious Royal Albert Hall. "When I got out of (the hospital) I didn't have enough strength to press the (guitar) string down to the fret. It was too hard. I couldn't do it. So I worked on it and I worked on it and it was extremely painful and my fingers would bleed...

"I just went at it -- so hard I've ended up kind of pulling the tendons in my fingers on my left hand. I'm getting therapy on my left hand 'cause I over did it, but I was so joyous to be able to play again after not having played for a year, so of course I overdid it."

The experience also resulted in a "creative renaissance" that led to Trout's upcoming album, "Battle Scars," a conceptual piece about his ordeal that's due out in October. Trout describes it as "a kind of journey through the whole thing," starting off with a track called "Almost Gone" and finishing with an upbeat, acoustic song titled "I'm Gonna Live Again."

"That song is basically a conversation with God asking him why he has kept me here, 'cause nobody thought I would make it. Even the doctors who were treating me didn't think I would survive," Trout says. "I'm anxious to get (the album) out there. I think it's some of my best work ever, and I really want people to know what I went through and how happy and grateful I am. I feel I have a lot to say right now."

Walter Trout

8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9.

Callahan's Music Hall, 2015 South Blvd. Auburn Hills.

Tickets are sold out.

Call 248-858-9508 or visit www.atcallahans.com.


Web Site: www.atcallahans.com

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