Tedeschi Trucks Band rolls into Centennial Terrace on July 24Written by Jason Mack | | email@example.com
After years with the Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks, 32, is starting a family band of his own. Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi are bringing the Tedeschi Trucks Band to the Centennial Terrace in Sylvania on July 24.
The Susan Tedeschi Band and The Derek Trucks Band were each formed in 1994, 10 years before the couple ever met. In 2010, Trucks and Tedeschi left their solo careers behind to combine forces.
“We’d been kicking around the idea for years, and the timing finally worked out,” Trucks said. “We had a lot going on the last 10 years between our solo bands. We released 10 records between the two of us. Between touring with the Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton, and having two kids, it was just really busy. A couple years ago the window finally opened up.”
Whenever Trucks and Tedeschi’s tours used to sync up, they would combine bands for what they called the Soul Stew Revival. While Trucks is happy to be playing with his wife full time, leaving his band was not easy.
“I’ve been with my guys for close to 16 years, so it was definitely a tough decision,” he said. “You have to continually move and change and shake things up to keep it fresh. The timing was right, and it seems to have worked out well for everybody.”
Trucks didn’t completely leave his band behind as his longtime keyboardist Kofi Burbridge joined the 11-member Tedeschi Trucks Band. Trucks also recruited Kofi’s brother Oteil, the bass player for the Allman Brothers Band.
“It’s great having that continuity along with some new blood,” Trucks said. “It’s nice having fresh ideas and the continuity of lifelong chemistry with people.
“We decided we were going to swing for the fences. It’s a huge personal, emotional and financial investment. You go all in and try to make it work. It puts your feet over the fire. There is no margin for error when you have that many people on the road.”
The band survived its first major road trip with a tour across Europe from June 29 to July 10.
“We had some really great shows in London and Paris and at the North Sea Jazz Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival,” Trucks said. “Those types of tours really solidify the band. Everybody digs in a little harder, and the next tour back home is that much better for it. You kind of have to build things from the ground up in Europe because our band is brand new over there. It feels like you’re going back in time about 10 years career-wise.”
Trucks began playing guitar at age nine and was considered a child prodigy shortly after. He started touring with the Allman Brothers Band playing slide guitar at the age of 12. In 2003, “Rolling Stone” ranked him the 81st greatest guitarist of all time.
“I feel like I can say whatever I want with the slide guitar,” Trucks said. “At this point, it’s pretty much an extension of what I hear in my head. It’s a very lyrical instrument. You can emulate the human voice and do a lot of things with it.”
At 15, Trucks formed his solo project. He has played with several music legends such as Buddy Guy, Bob Dylan and Joe Walsh, and he toured with Eric Clapton in 2006.
“Anytime you transition when you’re a ‘child prodigy,’ people show up for the novelty of it,” Trucks said. “They want to see you do a certain thing. Once you stop playing straight blues tunes they’re like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ You’re not doing Allman Brothers covers and people are freaking out. In a great way, it hardened me to peoples’ opinions and criticism. You realize if what you’re doing feels right, it’s probably right.”
Trucks met his wife in 1999 after he officially joined the Allman Brothers and she was their opening act. They got married two years later.
“I can’t think of many singers that are still alive that can do everything she can do,” Trucks said. “Her name should be in the discussion with great living vocalists. She has an unbelievable instrument and a huge range with a very emotional sound. If I was a vocalist, I wouldn’t want to sing after her.”
He might not want to sing after her, but Trucks was pitted against his wife at the 2010 Grammy Awards in the “Best Contemporary Blues Album” category. Trucks won the award for his album “Already Free.”
“It was funny when I saw the nominations,” he said. “It was a long running joke. She was on my record and I was on hers, so it was a win-win either way. We were just glad it ended up in the house.”
Another thing the couple has in their house in Jacksonville, Fla. is a recording studio, which Trucks said was crucial to the development of the band.
“We couldn’t afford to make the record we did in another studio,” Trucks said. “We got to spend as much time as we wanted going out and really digging in. We made sure the sounds were right. Even after the band and [engineer] Jim Scott were gone, I was doing a lot of my guitar stuff and vocal overdubs.”
After forming the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the couple spent a year co-writing 30 songs, which they cut down to 11. The band’s debut album “Revelator” was released June 7.
“I’d been on the road for the last 20 years before we put this group together,” Trucks said. “This was the first time I could stop and take a deep breath and figure out what had happened. The writing process was pretty devoted that way. It allowed us both to dig in and figure out where we were and what we had done up to this point. It was a great process. Personally and musically, it brought us a lot closer together.”
The new band has been a transition for Trucks from extended solos to more story-driven songs.
“I had done plenty of recordings where I can play as long as I feel, and that’s kind of a trip, but this is a different side of your playing,” he said. “A lot of people can get boxed into ‘total freedom’ musically. I don’t think it’s always what serves you best.
“It doesn’t matter what category it fits into or what peoples’ expectations are. It has to be good enough to last. I’m at the point now where that’s what I care about. I want to make music that still sounds fresh and honest 20 years down the road.”
Trucks is confident “Revelator” is honest and has lasting appeal.
“I can’t think of any other project that I’ve been on that I can listen start to finish and not want to change anything,” he said. “I love the way everybody in the band treated the performances and the songs. This album went less for the instant gratification, smacking people in the face immediately, and went more for a piece of art that’s going to last. I think it’s going to age really well.”
The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. with gates opening at 6 p.m. on July 24. Tickets range from $28 to $47.50 and are available at Ticketmaster outlets. Centennial Terrace is located at 5773 Centennial Rd.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Trucks said. “It’s such a new band. The live shows are stretching out and we’re still writing tunes. It’s going to be a fun story to watch unfold, even from the inside.”