:: Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks’ Soul Stew Revival :: Paramount Theatre :: June 9 ::
By Ryan Lappi
When talking to Susan Tedeschi, it’s easy to assume that she knows her place in American musical history. Steeped in blues, soul and rock traditions, the gifted vocalist can speak of musicians of the last century like they are part of her own family. Bessie Smith, Delaney and Bonnie, King Curtis, Bernard Purdie, Skip James, and Derek and the Dominos are just a few of the characters that can permeate her conversations about music on any given day, and they are described with such clarity and familiarity that they could be sitting around her dinner table. Of course, not only has she contributed to this musical legacy, but she’s married into a new one in the making.
This summer marks the first time that Tedeschi will tour with her husband, acclaimed “guitar god” Derek Trucks, in the aptly-named Soul Stew Revival. Already a well-seasoned veteran at the age of 27, Trucks is best known for his virtuosic axe skills in the Allman Brothers Band and for pairing up with Eric Clapton on a high-profile world tour last year.
However, Soul Stew Revival promises a much more intimate occasion, showcasing the sultry, soulful voice of Tedeschi, along with the familiar faces of Trucks’ own band: Todd Smallie (bass), Yonrico Scott (drums), Kofi Burbridge (keys & flute), Mike Mattison (vocals), and Count M’Butu (percussion). Also featured is saxophonist Ron Holloway from Tedeschi’s touring outfit. Given that each musician has experience playing in the Trucks/Tedeschi family, the band is guaranteed to deliver a “revival” that is both recognizable and freshly spontaneous.
In a recent conversation with The Marquee, Tedeschi expanded on the idea: “We’re gonna do a lot of different types of layering. We’re not going to have just a full band the whole time. We’ll do some sit down old-timey blues and folk, rootsy kind of stuff, maybe some piano tunes broken down with a couple of singers, and then we’ll have some songs that are full band and full blues or full rock. It’s a revival in the old sense where it’s sort of like a family gathering. We’re getting together and we’re trying to revive old music,” she said.
The band also promises plenty of new material and a fresh musical perspective on a variety of tunes that should be familiar to fans of both Trucks’ and Tedeschi’s individual bands. And while bridging the personnel of these two bands — along with creative ideas of two larger-than-life bandleaders — may seem a bit daunting, Tedeschi recognizes that everyone is linked by a common thread: Derek. “To be honest, he becomes the leader,” she confessed. “He knows everybody’s personalities so well and how to deal with people. He knows how to play every role. And actually, everybody works really hard together, so it’s not like only one person’s in charge. Everyone has a lot of creative input.”
Soul Stew Revival will also debut a new member of the Trucks family, Derek’s younger brother, drummer Duane, who just recently graduated from high school. “He’s young,” Tedeschi said, “but he’s doing a great job and now people are starting to realize it. At thirteen and fourteen he was playing Miles and Coltrane, and he’s really into a lot of the old drummers like Max Roach to Art Blakey to Elvin Jones and all those guys. He’s really kind of a jazz head on one level, but he’s very good at adapting; he’s very versatile.”
With such a colorful cast of characters, Soul Stew Revival is sure to dish out some of the finest roots music around. Consider it the Trucks Family Recipe, extra spice for soul-food 100 years in the making. And everyone’s invited to the feast.
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