Tedeschi Trucks Band hits the ground running
You might think that the pressure of travelling around the world with an 11-piece band that includes your soul mate might be a tad hard to take at times. But guitarist Derek Trucks—coleader of the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi—says not so much.
“Ya know, for some reason it’s not,” he explains from a tour stop in Charleston, West Virginia. “I like the added workload, and I like havin’ a lot to think about and do. And just the fact that we do have so much to do makes us stronger.”
Despite Trucks’s assertion that there’s no trouble in paradise for the travelling Tedeschi Trucks show, one listen to the husband-and-wife guitar duel that erupts on “Whiskey Legs”—a funky stomper from the band’s latest album, Made Up Mind—makes you wonder. It sounds like the couple has the kid gloves off on that fiery six-string exchange.
“Yeah, it’s good to get it out that way,” says Trucks with a chuckle, although he stops short of declaring a winner of that bout. “I would never say,” he adds, “but Susan’s fearless [on guitar]. She would go toe-to-toe with anybody.”
Made Up Mind is the studio follow-up to 2011’s Grammy-winning Revelator—the group also released the live double-disc Everybody’s Talkin’ in 2012—and Trucks believes it captures a more confident ensemble at work.
“With Revelator the band was just forming,” he explains, “and after being on the road for a few years you kinda know your role better, and you know the possibilities. I think we hit the ground runnin’ this time.”
While Tedeschi and Trucks are certainly capable of handling any guitar duties that may come their way, on Made Up Mind they also recruited Doyle Bramhall II to play on the tracks “All That I Need” and "Part of Me".
“It’s mainly rhythms, some flavour here and there,” notes Trucks of Bramhall’s fretboard contributions. “Those are tunes we wrote with Doyle, so it was nice having him down to the studio. With him the songwriting always goes to this real late-’60s, early-’70s soul/R&B vibe—mixed with some of the Dominos stuff. Me and him were on that classic [Eric Clapton] tour together playing a lot of that Derek and the Dominos music, so we kinda go into that bag a little bit when we start writing.
“We just did our Beacon Theatre run in New York,” he continues, “and Doyle came out and sat in with us. I think we’re doin’ a tour early next year in Japan and India and we’re gonna try to get him to come out with us, you know, sit in on a handful of tunes, just kinda hang out. It’s always fun having him around. We love Doyle.”
Okay, so if they add Bramhall on tour that would make it a whopping 12 TTB members to find beds for and keep track of. Or would that be 11? The group portrait in the Made Up Mind CD only shows 10 players.
“It’s 11 now,” confirms Trucks. “We didn’t have a full-time bass player when we made the record, but within the last month or so we finally found our guy. His name is Tim Lefebvre, and he’s the 11th member. So we’re back at full strength.”
The Tedeschi Trucks Band plays the Vogue Theatre on Friday (November 8).