Arts Preview: Tedeschi and Trucks bring big band to the Pavilion

The summer concert season kicks off in high gear with the powerhouse blues-rock of Tedeschi Trucks Band. (Publicity Photo)

“It’s something my whole family will always remember.” Blues songstress Susan Tedeschi is talking about her late February performance at the White House, where she played for President Barrack Obama during a tribute to her genre alongside Mick Jagger, BB King, Buddy Guy and her husband, slide guitar wiz Derek Trucks.

Lately, though, the musical couple is making plenty of memories onstage jointly fronting their own Tedeschi Trucks Band. After a decade of marriage and years forging ahead with individual careers—Tedeschi as a Grammy-nominated solo act and Trucks as a member of the Allman Brothers Band while also leading his own group, The Derek Trucks Band, the husband and wife duo decided it was time to work together.

“At first it was a little tricky,” Tedeschi admitted. “We were both used to being bandleaders.”
It didn’t take long for chemistry to take hold. Tedeschi and Trucks assembled a versatile 11-piece band that gracefully hustles through an expansive blend of worldly rock, soulful funk and vintage R&B. The group’s debut album, Revelator, just picked up a Grammy for Best Blues Album.

“We wanted instrumentation that would be powerful and versatile enough to handle any style of music,” Tedeschi added. The big band comes together with a range of dynamic parts: harmony vocals from Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers, the double drum attack of J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell, a three-piece horn section and the vast experience of brothers Oteil (bass) and Kofi Burbridge (keyboards and flute) of the Allman Brothers and Derek Truck Band, respectively.

Tedeschi Trucks Band
April 25
nTelos Wireless Pavilion

It’s an old school revue in the classic vein of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends with interplay at the centerpiece. On Revelator’s standout tracks, Trucks’ fluid guitar journeys mirror Tedeschi’s sultry howls with the congruent energy of a duet, whether it’s the slow-burning groove of “Midnight in Harlem” or the gritty hill country rock of “Come See About Me.”
Things are not only clicking musically. After the initial adjustment of working with her spouse, Tedeschi says they are enjoying spending more time together than they were ever able to previously as working musicians in different bands. It also means a little more structure for their two kids, Charlie and Sophia.

And there are no plans to go back. Although Trucks still plays with the Allman Brothers when they tour sporadically, the Tedeschi Trucks Band is moving full steam ahead. The group will begin a lengthy spring tour as the season opener at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on Wednesday, April 25. The band is also continuing to crank out new tunes, some of which will appear on an upcoming live album to be released in May.

“We kid around that we’re extensions of each other,” said Tedeschi of her husband. “Sometimes I’ll sing Derek a melody and he’ll put a chord behind it. Other times he’ll bring me a whole beautiful song and I’ll have to put words on top of it. We can also just sit down with a group and jam, and before we know it we have 10 new songs. We have so many different roads to take.”

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