For 50 years, the swagger of blues-rock guitar showmanship has been Walter Trout’s calling card. That belies an underlying sensitivity manifesting itself in heartfelt lyrics seeking greater personal truths. With his optimism under siege in a contentious world, Trout pulls that duality together on Broken, his 31st album. Beth Hart’s fiery vocals intertwine with Trout’s on the haunting title track, a song of repair and redemption. British harmonica ace Will Wilde amazes on “Bleed,” a boogie drawn from Trout’s days with Canned Heat. Trout then rocks hard with Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame on “I’ve Had Enough.” But the quietest moments speak the loudest. Here, Trout hints at his true source of hope on the tender instrumental “Love of My Life” and the intimate “I Wanna Stay”—both tributes to Marie, his wife of 30 years. 

-Ken Wright