Derek Trucks on reinventing the Tedeschi Trucks Band

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“After losing Kofi, it was such a blow to the band, obviously,” Trucks said in a phone interview in early June. “We feel like a good part of the heart (was lost), he was such a big part of our lives.

“It’s a bit of a crazy time, but we were planning to take March, April, May and part of June,” he said. “It was just to do a hard reset after Kofi and just take some time and think about what we wanted to do, if we wanted to pivot. We couldn’t keep riding like nothing happened.

Ultimately, of course, the pandemic hit this March and the three-month hiatus turned into an extended tour hiatus through 2021. And the band organically reinvented themselves while making what is surely one of the boldest musical statements in rock history – a series of four musically and thematically linked albums, all titled under the banner “I Am The Moon”. They will each be released about a month apart this summer. The first of these albums, “I Am The Moon – 1. Crescent”, arrived on June 3.

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi will lead the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Fox Theater July 15-16. Photo: Stuart Levine

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi will lead the Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Fox Theater July 15-16. Photo: Stuart Levine

With Dixon and drummer Tyler Greenwell joining Trucks, Tedeschi and vocalist Mike Mattison as key songwriters, a new energy emerged as the albums began to be written.

“It’s a different band,” Trucks said. “I mean, obviously the first 10 years, I mean, there’s amazing music and stuff that’s going to be central to what we do, but I really feel like it’s a different chapter, that’s for sure.”

The first chapter opened in 2010 when husband and wife Trucks and Tedeschi merged their careers (Trucks leading his own Derek Trucks Band while playing in the Allman Brothers Band and in Eric Clapton’s band, while Tedeschi was a solo artist) to create the Tedeschi Trucks Band. , which today also includes drummer Isaac Eady, Kebbi Williams (saxophone), Erphraim Owens (trumpet), Elizabeth Lea (trombone) and harmony singers Mark Rivers and Alecia Chakour.

Drawing on their rock, blues, soul, country and jazz influences, the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s first four studio albums skillfully blended these styles into a cohesive whole with a blend of finely crafted rockers and ballads played with finesse and gusto. .

Now, “I Am The Moon” seems certain to elevate the Tedeschi Trucks Band in any conversation about top rock bands.

The seeds for the four-album project were planted shortly after LOCKN’s “Layla” performance when vocalist Mike Mattison noted that he had read Nizami Ganjavi’s 12th century poem titled “Layla and Majnun”, which inspired the original “Layla” album and its theme of a man loving a woman he can’t have.

Mattison saw other perspectives that might be worth exploring in the poem.

“He just went, ‘You know, I think it would be interesting, after rereading the poem, it would be interesting (to consider) what did Layla think about it? What would be her take on the songs? “, Trucks recalls. “And immediately the light bulb went out.

The band members dove in and over the next few months, all 24 songs from the four “I Am The Moon” albums emerged.

Together, the albums provide a rich musical banquet. The group’s soul influence comes through the pretty ballads “Hear My Dear” and “I Am The Moon” and the exciting “Ain’t That Something”. The band’s Southern roots shine through in the richly melodic blues-tinged ballad “Rainy Day” and the easy-going “Soul Sweet Song.” Country and gospel collide well on the dashing “So Long Savior”. The instrumental prowess of Trucks (widely regarded as today’s finest slide guitarist) and the rest of the band are showcased on “Gravity” and the extended instrumental “Pasaquan”.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band plans to change their gig rosters from show to show as the band headline their Wheels of Soul tour this summer.

“We’re not going to play any new material until each record comes out, and only the first one has been released,” Trucks said. “So we will definitely be playing some of the material from the debut album of the four that are coming out. Then I think halfway through “Wheels of Soul” the second album will come out, we’ll probably add a few too.


CONCERT OVERVIEW

Tedeschi Trucks Band with Los Lobos

7:30 p.m. on July 15 and 16. $29 to $150. Fox Theater, 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499, foxtheatre.org.

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