Walter Trout

Though the term "guitar hero" means less in mainstream music than it did, say, 25 years ago, that doesn't mean the world doesn't have or need them anymore. Clapton and (Jeff) Beck are still active, but who's going to carry on when they join Stevie Ray Vaughan and Rory Gallagher in six-string heaven? Fellows like Walter Trout, that's who. The New Jersey-born guitarist isn't merely some technique-obsessed Captain Speedfingers — he knows blues, having played behind icon John Lee Hooker and as a member of Canned Heat and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. On his latest disc, The Outsider, Trout adds personalized tweaks 'n' twists to his solos — he's not living in someone else's past. Subtlety, alas, isn't his strong suit, but Trout plays and sings with been-'round-the-block passion and guts, which many performers (in assorted genres) confuse with frenzy, petulance, and "angst." See Trout (no fish jokes, please) "fiddle" his frets while Guitartown burns.

 
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