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The Best Blues Rock Albums of 2014

about.com has selected John Mayall's A Special Life as one of the Top 10 Blues Rock Albums of the Year for 2014. Also nominated was Walter Trout's, The Blues Came Callin'. Both albums were co-produced and engineered by Forty Below Record's Eric Corne.

 

John Mayall – 'A Special Life' (Forty Below Records)

A bona fide musical legend, British blues-rock pioneer John Mayall influenced several generations of musicians, from the Yardbirds and the Rolling Stones to the Strypes and the White Stripes. He’s had a helluva eye for talent, too, with Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Walter Trout, and others passing through Mayall’s Bluesbreakers band. Still, his groundbreaking and influential experimentations with blues, jazz-fusion, and R&B aside, Mayall’s not a household name in spite of better than five decades in the business. A Special Life, Mayall’s first studio album in five years and the follow-up to the late-career triumph that was 2009’s Tough, is more than just a mere “return to form” for the British blues statesman, but rather an album as insightful, entertaining, and as musically strong as any of the other records he’s released.

 

Walter Trout – 'The Blues Came Callin’' (Provogue Records)

In a year where the popular blues-rock guitarist was supposed to be taking a victory lap in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his solo career, Walter Trout has spent much of 2014 recuperating from his life-threatening illness and long anticipated liver transplant. Although the good news is that Trout got a new liver, the bad news is that he’s still not out of the woods and each day is a struggle with his health. Still, the man lives for the blues, and before his illness sidelined him altogether in late 2013, he went into the studio to record The Blues Came Callin’. A twelve-song celebration of life in the face of mortality, ten of the album’s tracks are newly-penned Trout originals, one was a J.B. Lenoir cover, and the other was penned by British blues-rock legend (and Trout’s former bandleader) John Mayall specifically for the album. A love letter from the guitarist to his fans, Trout delivers the performance of a lifetime, his fretwork phenomenal and the emotion of the songs as deep as one can get into the blues, but with his optimism bubbling up to the top.