Guitar Legend Walter Trout Comes to Sioux Falls
He's one of the greatest guitar players ever, yet here in the U.S., it seems only blues fans know his name. A recent BBC poll named him the 6th greatest guitar player EVER (behind Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Gary Moore and Mark Knopfler) He headlines Blues Festivals around the world and has been a professional musician for nearly 45 years. He's Walter Trout and thanks to Lance King at Old Skoolz in Sioux Falls, we got to spend not one, but TWO nights with this legendary musician this week (August 13 and 14)
While he was here, he told the story of being a teenaged garbage man in New Jersey in 1969 when some friends convinced him to go with them to a festival in New York. Yep, 44 years ago this weekend, Trout was one of an estimated 450,000 people at Woodstock. It was there that he saw so many people that inspired him to not go back to the garbage truck and instead, become a musician. He had a conversation backstage with Janis Joplin, saw Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Winter, and even a band that he would end up joining years later: Canned Heat.
He played in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (a band that was one of Eric Clapton's first bands) with fellow bluesman Coco Montoya. He's toured the world more times than he can count, yet remains incredibly humble and gracious.
I hadn't seen Walter face to face since he played here in 2010. I had left him a Facebook message letting him know that his record label had ignored requests for a copy of his fantastic new release called "Luther's Blues" which is a tribute to one of his mentors and good friends, the late Luther Allison. I also extended an invitation to come in for an on air interview since we had so much fun talking music the last time he was here.
I wasn't surprised when I didn't hear a response. He's Walter Trout after all! haha Tuesday night, we were sitting at the first table and about four songs into the show he started talking about the new release and turned to me from the stage and asked if his label had finally sent me the CD. I said no and he told me he had one for me before ripping into one of the new tracks!
True to his word, after the show was over, he got a CD from the merchandise table, told the people waiting in line that he'd be back in a couple minutes, walked through the crowd to me handed it to me and said "Crash, how have you been?" before giving me a hug. Stunned doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. He followed that with "you got married this summer didn't you!" You could've knocked me over with a feather as I introduced him to my wife Sarah.
We talked about him becoming a vegan (he's lost 30 pounds!) his slow recovery from a cracked rib (spending a month on the couch bored him to DEATH!) His tour of the midwest, which finds him headlining the Fargo Blues Festival Saturday night (August 17) and just catching up. I have no idea how he keeps people straight in his head in his now fifth decade of touring the world but he made me, and everyone at Old Skoolz both nights, feel like we were the most important people to him.
Trout played Sioux Falls JazzFest back in 2002 when his son (who was visiting here from Holland) was just a little boy and he said he would LOVE to be able to come back and play the festival again (Rob are you reading this??)
He's played on 30+ albums in his illustrious career and shows no real signs of slowing down. For this, me and millions of fans around the world are grateful. See him if you get a chance anywhere near you. You can thank me later.