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New Jersey-born blues-rocker Walter Trout spent decades as an ace sideman, playing guitar behind the likes of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, and Joe Tex. In 1981, he was also tapped to replace the late Bob Hite in Canned Heat, remaining with the venerable group through the middle of the decade. While filling in one night for an ailing John Mayall, Trout (also a Bluesbreaker for some five years) was spotted by a Danish concert promoter who agreed to finance a solo tour. Assembling his own backing band, he released his debut LP in 1990, Life in the Jungle, trailed a year later by Prisoner of a Dream. Albums including 1992's Live (No More Fish Jokes), 1994's Tellin' Stories, and 1997's Positively Beale Street followed. Trout continued a steady release schedule, issuing Livin' Every Day in 1999, a live album the following year (recorded at the Tampa Bay Blues Fest), the 2001 studio album Go the Distance, 2003's Relentless -- which Trout and his band the Radicals recorded in front of a live audience -- and 2005's Deep Trout, a compilation of early and unreleased recordings. On the 2006 release Full Circle, Trout realized his dream of creating an album with some of his most admired musicians, including John Mayall, Coco Montoya, and Joe Bonamassa, among others. The 2009 compilation Unspoiled by Progress found Trout handpicking live tracks recorded on the road throughout his career. The following year he was back in the studio and released Common Ground. On 2012's Blues for the Modern Daze, he wrote 15 tracks based on his country-blues roots. His 23rd album, Luther's Blues, a tribute to one of his main influences, the late Luther Allison, was originally released in Europe in 2010, and finally issued in the United States in 2013. Trout had been having health problems for some time, and discovered his liver was failing in late 2013. He went on a transplant list early the next year, and on May 26, 2014 underwent successful transplant surgery. Two weeks later, Provogue issued Blues Came Callin', a recording that marked his 25th anniversary as a solo artist. Trout continued to recover, albeit with some complications that required another surgery. A series of interviews with British journalist Henry Yates resulted in the autobiography Rescued Reality: The Life and Times of Walter Trout, published in early 2015. Trout was strong enough to tour and record again. Less than a year after his transplant, he cut another album entitled Battle Scars, which was released in the fall. ~ Jason Ankeny & Al Campbell