Tedeschi-Trucks Band at the top of their game after only 10 months
:: Tedeschi-Trucks Band ::
By Timothy Dwenger
When America’s First Couple of The Blues first met backstage at an Allman Brothers show in 1999, the music world was buzzing with the possibility of a collaboration. But instead, as the years passed, the two fell in love, married and started a family without more than the occasional sit-in. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to work together. Derek Trucks’ commitment to fill the shoes of the late Duane Allman with The Brothers, coupled with a rigorous touring and recording schedule with his own Derek Trucks Band, and Susan Tedeschi’s responsibilities with her own group put some roadblocks in the path of a truly collaborative project.
In 2007 the couple took the first steps toward fulfilling their dream of building a band together when they headed out on the road with The Soul Stew Revival, a project that largely focused on material plucked from Trucks’ and Tedeschi’s respective solo projects. While that band didn’t really satisfy their creative desires and as Trucks has stated, was more of a “summer vacation band” that allowed them to take the family on tour for the summer, it did solidify their desire to get something more permanent established.
In 2009 the roadblocks that had prevented them from going into the studio and writing material for a new band eased a bit as their respective recording contracts drew to a close and their two children reached grade school age. With much of the red tape out of the way, the pair decided to put their solo bands on hold and dive headlong into a project that would allow them to work together on the music that they love, and the Tedeschi-Trucks Band was born.
While it took them a while to put a band together, by the time their New Year’s Eve show rolled around last year things were falling into place nicely. “With an 11 piece lineup it’s hard to lock all the schedules in and New Year’s was the first time we had this group on stage together,” Trucks told The Marquee during a recent interview from his home in Jacksonville, Fla. as he and Tedeschi prepared to head out on a lengthy fall tour. “That was the first time that we really hit it. Up ’til that time we were kinda feeling it out and while you want to make every show you play great, that was when I really felt like we had finally settled on something.”
In the 10 months since that night, Trucks feels that the group has been getting better and better. “Week-to-week, month-to-month it’s [been]large steps forward. It’s an exciting time. There is so much potential in a band like this; so much musical potential that it is fun to watch it grow and [to]be in the mix,” said Trucks.
It’s also that excitement that Trucks aims to capture on tape this fall as the band pushes their limits with their soulful, bluesy and jazz-tinged music, from night to night. “We typically record every show two-track, just the board mix, but this time out we are going to do it right, old school with a nice pre-amp on every mic on stage so we can mix it properly when we get home,” Trucks said. “This will be the first time we’ve gone full tilt, break the bank, to get a record. I’m excited, it’s such a new band and it’s really firing on all cylinders right now so I wanted to capture it while it was at this point.”
To ensure the final product sounds as good as possible when it hits shelves, the couple has enlisted the services of Jim Scott, who also produced their debut record, Revelator, and has worked with Wilco, Johnny Cash, and many others. “He’ll come out for the first few shows and make sure it’s sounding right, then we are going to mix it with him, too,” said Trucks.
The partnership between Trucks and Scott had been on the horizon for a long time before it finally came to fruition. For years, record companies had been handing him lists of producers that included Scott’s name but for some reason the two never got together. “It wasn’t until this project that I finally met with him and we just hit it off right out of the gate,” Trucks said. “He is a pro and he knows how to make records. He just knows how to make things sound right and feel right.”
Another thing that helped seal the deal was the fact that Tedeschi and Trucks share something else very important in common with Scott. “He has the same console in his recording studio in California that we have in our home studio. The serial number is about 12 off,” Trucks said. “So he has been working on this gear for 20 years and he came in and was able to teach us a lot about the stuff we have. We learned how to make it breathe and make it sound wide and big and not overly compressed. Just walking into the room and listening to the playback of a track after we recorded it was pretty stunning. It gave us added confidence to go back in the room and play knowing how good it sounded on the other side of the glass.”
With the live record project now in full swing and the band playing at the top of their game, Trucks said they’re dedicated to keeping that very big machine running. “It’s a crazy time and a crazy economy to have a band this big running down the road, but it just feels right,” said Trucks. “The other side of it is that when times are tough, and when a dollar means more, you have to give people a show and make it worth their time. When a band like this shows up I feel like people walk away feeling right about it. No one is getting shortchanged with that lineup showing up. So in a way we are kind of the perfect band for this time. If you are going to go out and see a group you want to have your head knocked off, that’s what we are here to do.”
:: Tedeschi-Trucks Band ::
:: Fillmore Auditorium :: November 18 ::
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