In the Name of Trout

I discovered modern music about the same time I discovered the joy of fishing. Since my age hit the double digits, I’ve had a lovely run with both.

As a kid, I used to lie awake at night with a small transistor at my ear. I’d wait for a replay of a single tune, the one piece in a Top 40 rotation that meant something different to me than the 39 other pieces of crap. That song might have encapsulated the suggestions of beauty and wildness in the world.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I used to walk my fly rod to the farthest point that I could walk it to– away from the bridges, out around the bend, beyond…

I would dream of fishing water new to me, places where the trout would be larger or more radiant, where the world would show me something I hadn’t seen before.

In the decade from my middle teens to my middle twenties, I would buy record albums, vinyl, based on possibilities– on what new world of music they might offer.

Sometimes there was little way of knowing what my hard-earned dollars were purchasing, unless I knew something of the group or artist from the past. It was a different time, for sure.

By hit or miss, I found a brave new realm of music, fitting my inquisitive nature. Since then, I’ve done the same with trout streams and the world around me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASometimes I worry that I’ve missed something significant along the way. It might be a terrific blues band or progressive artist known to only spiritual explorers. It might be a neighborhood trout stream nearly forgotten, still thriving with fish and beauty.

Just the other day, I found the music of Walter Trout (a great name, huh?), a blues guitarist whom I’d heard of but had barely known. Before going solo and producing his own bands, Trout played with Canned Heat and, more importantly, with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at a time when I loved to hear that group but hadn’t checked out who was playing what.

For me, finding Walter Trout through satellite radio and the Internet is like finding excellent new trout water in easy striking distance from home. Good work, like good water, is always out there if you take the time to find it.

So where have I been without this stream of music all along? Who knows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Walter Trout, who played with great animation, feeling, and humor, recently had a liver translant and is hoping for recovery from a near-death experience.

Trout has an album called “Live: No More Fish Jokes.” And his recent tribute album to the late Luther Allison (a main influence) includes a decent cover of the blazing “Cherry Red Wine,” an Allison classic.

So now I’ve found another trout stream and another mine of music. Better late than never, I say.



About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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12 Responses to In the Name of Trout

  1. I think this is my favorite entry I’ve read on your blog so far. Great post.

  2. Thank you, Ryan, I’m really pleased that you like this one; I wasn’t sure how it was gonna be received. Appreciate you reading me.

  3. Mike says:

    Watching the video and my son (9) says, “Dad, who is that??”.

    I say, “Walter Trout.”

    “Trout,” he says with a smirk, “That’s probably why your watching that.”

    So much for “no more fish jokes” lol

    Seriously though, Jimmy Page eat your heart out.


    • Mike, I love it! And a smart son, at that. Again, kids make sense of a world that’s turned our heads around. And yeah to Jimmy, who made his contribution, but is like a Carp to the Trout, in my estimation. But no more fish jokes….

  4. Bob Stanton says:

    You hit the nail on the head, brother. Though I had as yet to discover the way of the fly, as a kid I would fish the local creek for whatever swam in it. Water too warm for trout? Plenty of rock bass, crappie, and suckers to be caught. Once I had caught a big darter and brought it home to ask my dad what the heck this thing was. In my twenties, my buddy and I would drive to Pittsburgh or Buffalo, Erie or State College and all points in between in search of vinyl, with the Rolling Stone and Trouser Press record guides as our map and compass, trying to blaze our own sonic trail through a wilderness fraught with the dangers of the common and mundane. We’re all hunters of a sort, aren’t we?

  5. Bob, You’re like a Brother of the Hunt to me. I’d say the hunt is an impulse for our kind, the urge to explore and to experience life as we find it. Whether it be in fishing or in music or in art or nature in general, we feel it in the blood and it makes us move! I like to think that’s how culture, in whatever part of the world, evolves as well. But anyway, always good to hear from you.

  6. Alan says:

    That was one awesome piece.

  7. And thank you, too, Alan; I am glad you liked it.

  8. I agree with Alan — that was outstanding! Sharing with my aspiring guitarist/barista-in-training son up in Nashville.

  9. Thanks Jim! And for sharing with your Nashville-training son. Hope he likes this stuff. I’m reminded of Nashville and our visit there a couple summers back. God it was hot and humid and stormy that night, but the food, the drink, and the music were memory-full!

  10. plaidcamper says:

    Great post, Walt! Went upstream as per your recommendation earlier, and here was more to enjoy reading and listening to. I remember the days of buying vinyl with nothing more than a hunch, a recommendation from a friend, or simply the album artwork, as a guide. Always fun, bloody expensive, and a few (costly) misses – but seems like albums weren’t full of filler, and listening for 25 minutes then flipping the disc was time well spent. Not like today – skip, skip, skip – I only include that to generate an eye roll from my teenage daughter next time she’s in the car and retuning the radio. Definitely wearing my rose tinted noise-cancelling headphones here…
    In this, and the other video, Walter Trout is having fun up there!

    • Thanks for coming up, my friend. And glad you liked the music. This was before the sickness came from which he almost didn’t recover. I’m glad he’s still having fun, as was certainly the case here. I, too, bought vinyl as you did. On a hunch, on a recommendation, for the cover, for the chance to find exciting music like this. I miss those opportunities but still hope to find albums as a work of art instead of filler. Yeah, today it’s mostly skip, skip, skip with the youth. Ah well.

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