Home' Rhythms Magazine : 2016 Mar-Apr Contents Rhythms 29
When they were last here for the 2013 Bluesfest,
the Tedeschi Trucks Band just about blew the roof
off the Crossroads stage with a couple of brilliant
performances. In one hell of a powerful band you had
two great guitarists together (at last) and a bunch of
great singers. It’s a formidable combination.
Derek Trucks was voted 16th Best Guitarist of All Time
in one poll and spent years honing his craft in the Allman
Brothers Band. Susan Tedeschi is a five-time Grammy
nominee in her own right and a winner in 2012 with this
band. Add to that duo a stunning backing band including
a couple of great backing singers, one of whom - Mike
Mattison - also takes lead vocals occasionally and writes
songs as well! If you thought those Bluesfest shows back in
2013 were great prepared to be stunned again. I was lucky
enough to see them at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
Festival last year and they are playing even better than ever.
“That one felt good,” recalls Derek when I remind of the
Jazz Fest show. “Sometimes when you hit the main stage of
those festivals with no sound check it can be a little trying.
Something about that show felt really good out of the gate. It
was really relaxed and really musical and that one felt good.
I was proud of the band.”
It’s easy to compare the Tedeschi Trucks Band to an outfit
like Delaney and Bonnie & Friends in the ‘70s touring with
Eric Clapton - they are that good. At Jazz Fest they also
played a mighty version of ‘Keep On Growing’, co- written
by Clapton for Derek & The Dominos, the band he formed
with three other Delaney & Bonnie alumni! The connections
just keep getting stronger. Not only that, last September
the Tedeschi Trucks Band paid tribute to Joe Cocker’s Mad
Dogs & Englishmen Tour of 1970, with some of the original
band members, including Leon Russell.
“Man, it’s been growing,” says Derek when I suggest that the
band just keeps getting better. “It really has. I’ve got to say,
since that Jazz Fest show in New Orleans it’s taken a few
more pretty big steps forward. It’s in a really healthy spot
right now. I feel lucky to be a part of it. I feel like we’re just
starting to figure out what really makes it go and everybody
is on the same page. It really has been a lot of fun”
While Trucks has a formidable reputation as a guitarist, his
partner Susan - who sings as powerfully as a young Bonnie
Raitt - is surely not too far behind. At the Jazz Fest show she
played her fair share of killer solos.
“There’s a few tunes and a few songs when Susan is on you
just have to get out of the way and let her go!” agrees Trucks.
“She’s fearless, man. That is no joke. There’s certainly times
when she’ll play a guitar solo and I’ll think, ‘Yeah, I’m not
going to play after that... think it’s time for another verse.”
“I think her being in front of a band this big and this
powerful and leading the charge has slowly and subtly given
her a different confidence,” adds Trucks when I mention
Susan’s transformation from the somewhat reserved or shy
musician I first saw more than a decade ago in the USA.
“I think I definitely notice it,” he says. “I notice it when we’re
in the studio too because when I first met her she never
felt comfortable or right in the studio. Lately, when we’re
in there and especially when it’s time to do vocals, she gets
right on it. It’s been fun to watch. She obviously has the gift
but watching that continue to grow is sure fun to watch.”
The new Tedeschi Trucks Band album is ‘Let Me Get By’,
a collection of 10 original songs written by band members
and co-producer Doyle Bramhall II. It’s a real team effort.
“The record that we just made, I think captures that really
well,” says Truck. “The record feels really nice too. I think
we finally captured the spirit of what the band looks and
feels like when it’s travelling down the road. I think the
personalities of everybody are really represented well on the
“I’m excited about it,” says Trucks when I mention that
we are looking forward to seeing them back in Australia.
“I’m getting more excited. It’s going to be fun. I know the
rehearsals are going to be a hell of a lot of fun. I’m pretty
sure it’ll translate to the stage!”
‘Let Me Get By’ is available now through Universal Music.
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