Blues guitarist Walter Trout is set to headline the inaugural Urban Blues Festival in Los Angeles this Saturday, August 29. The event, which benefits Ascencia, will be staged at Raleigh Studios (5300 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, CA 90038), and begins at 11:00 AM. Joining Trout will be Guitar Shorty, Trout Brothers Band, Arthur Adams, The Americans, The Scorch Sisters, Little Faith, and Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton.
"You know we are all struggling in this life, trying to do well, " Trout says. "Some people have it better than others. This is a great cause for the folks who have slipped through the cracks and are homeless in our society. I have been there myself in the past a couple of times. It’s a great cause. All the money that is raised will go to the Ascencia Foundation. I hope you will come out, listen to the music, have a great day with us, and you can know in your heart that this is for a great cause – you will be doing something good.”
On October 23rd, Trout's next studio album titled Battle Scars will be released. With bristling energy, unflagging virtuosity and lyrics that cut to the core of human hope and willpower, Trout says the title chronicles his horrific battle with liver failure. The songs capture the international guitar hero on a new high — playing and singing at the peak of his abilities, infusing even his darkest numbers with creative joy that sweeps like a beacon.
"I’m thrilled about this album, about my life and about my music,” says Trout, who returned to the stage in June at the prestigious Lead Belly Festival in London’s Royal Albert Hall. “I feel that I’m reborn as a songwriter, a singer, a guitarist and a human being. I have a new chance at being the best musician and the best man that I can be. And I’m incredibly happy and grateful.”
Contrast that to early 2014, when Trout was lying in a hospital bed without the strength to move or speak, unable to recognize his own children, as he observed his body waste away. But on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014, Trout underwent liver transplant surgery and the slow process of healing began.
“At first I wasn’t strong enough to play a single note on the guitar, but as I regained my strength, the music came back to me," Trout recalls. "Now when I pick up the guitar, it is liberating, joyful, and limitless. I feel like I’m 17 again.”
Trout is now moving triumphantly forward in his 50th year as a guitarist. He is in the midst of a global tour with his band: keyboardist Sammy Avila, drummer Michael Leasure, and new bassist Johnny Griparic, who joined in time to record Battle Scars in Los Angeles’ Kingsize Soundlabs with Trout’s longtime producer Eric Corne.
“I don’t take this lightly,” Trout declares. “Marie says that all of the people who donated to our fundraiser for my medical expenses” — which generated more than $240,000 – “bought stock in me and my liver. When I play for them now, I have a responsibility to give back and offer the very best that I have.”
More information about the Urban Blues Festival can be found at www.UrbanBluesFest.com.