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.
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.
Sometimes 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.
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.