“After the heaviness and emotional intensity of creating my last studio album, Battle Scars, I just wanted to go in the studio and have some fun and jam with some friends.” — Walter Trout
After a couple of albums announcing his return to the fray of the music biz from a last-hour liver transplant in the 2015 studio project Battle Scars and then the live follow-up ALIVE in Amsterdam, blues-rock guitarist Walter Trout is back again, this time bringing along a few friends, as in one for each of the 14 tracks on this latest album, appropriately titled We’re All in This Together (Provogue Records/Mascot Label Group). A follow-up to Trout’s 2006 Full Circle album that included tracks recorded with the likes of Jeff Healey, John Mayall, Coco Montoya, Finis Tasby, Joe Bonamassa, Bernard Allison, Junior Watson, Guitar Shorty, and James Harman, among others, We’re All in This Together finds a largely new contingent of mostly guitar-slinging, sometimes harp-wielding, guests lending their instruments and, often, their voices, on a baker’s dozen of original songs all written or co-written by Trout along with a cover of one blues classic.
Both Mayall and Bonamassa return here — the first on the stripped-down, guitar-and-harmonica acoustic number “Blues for Jimmy T.” on which Mayall provides the harp, and the latter on the scorching closing title track, which, unlike most of the other numbers, was captured live with the musicians in the same studio (and on the first take) — as does Trout’s longtime friend (who Walter says “sorta’ discovered me when I moved to L.A. in the ’70s”), blues keyboard great Deacon Jones (Freddie King, John Lee Hooker), who passed away in July, for several songs.
Now five decades into his career, Trout’s made a lot of friends through the years, allowing him to call upon such other seasoned veterans as Sonny Landreth, Edgar Winter, Charlie Musselwhite, Warren Haynes, Joe Louis Walker, and Randy Bachman, in addition to familiar names like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mike Zito, Robben Ford, Eric Gales, and harmonica player John Nemeth. The end result is a fine album that’s all-killer and no-filler, with Trout and his guests backed by Trout’s band of Johnny Griparic on bass, Mike Leasure on drums, and Sammy Avila on keyboards.