Walter Trout performing his Battle Scars Tour with support from Jared James Nichols at Rock City Nottingham on Monday 17th October 2016

Images and Review by Kevin Cooper

You are not likely to find a more passionate spokesperson for the blues than Walter Trout. After years of touring and recording as a sideman for greats like John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Canned Heat and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Trout finally branched out on his own and is now a sensation in the blues world.

But first to grace the stage at Rock City last night was Jared James Nichols, a young man who plays the blues like a sixty year old. Delighting this audience with numbers from his debut album, and his latest single, Don’t You Try, this is a blues man definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Trout’s latest album, Battle Scars has been greatly influenced by his 2014 illness in which he nearly died, in particular the slow melodic number, Please Take Me Home, which is uplifted by his subliminal guitar playing, whilst Almost Gone and the breathtaking Omaha are about the difficult times in hospital.

But there were also uplifting moments that had this crowd gently swaying back and forth to the outstanding mastery that was coming from the stage. There was the heavy rock song, Help Me, and the beautiful ballad, Say Goodbye To The Blues, in which he pays homage to his hero B.B. King.

There was an impressive drum solo from Michael Leasure in Serve Me Right To Suffer, whilst Johnny Griparic on bass and long term friend on keyboards, Sammy Avila made a real contribution on Go The Distance and Nine Times.

A particular highlight was Trout and his son Jon having a challenging guitar duel on the famous Rock Me Baby in which there was only one winner, but only just. Not wanting it all to come to an end, he paid no heed to the Rock City curfew as Trout ripped into the hearts and souls of this audience, as his intense guitar playing touched and moved all, leaving an overwhelming lasting impression.