Tedeschi Trucks Band Revelator
After a decade of successfully managing award winning solo careers alongside marriage and family, roots rock icons Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks had a revelation: they wanted to work together full time and devote themselves to a new joint ensemble they would co-lead, and thus the eleven member Tedeschi Trucks Band was born. Trucks says of the process, “We spent a whole year putting a band together with different lineups, different approaches, different mindsets, and during the same time began songwriting. After about six months we had over 30 songs to choose from.” The Band’s debut album Revelator produced by Trucks and Grammy winning engineer Jim Scott and recorded at their home studio, Swamp Raga, is the result of eighteen months of dedicated musical focus.
This new musical family includes actual brothers Kofi Burbridge(longtime keyboardist with The Derek Trucks Band) and Oteil Burbridge (noted for his years as bassist with the Allman Brothers Band),and a pair of drummers, J.J Johnson and Tyler Greenwell (from the Susan Tedeschi Band), who create a rhythm section that plays together like they have ESP. A three piece horn section of Maurice Brown on trumpet, Kebbi Williams on saxophone, and Saunders Sermons on trombone join the sonic palate, with vocalists Mike Mattison (from The Derek Trucks Band) and Mark Rivers adding sweet harmonies to Susan Tedeschi’s amazing lead vocals. Tedeschi says of the new group, “It has such strengths, everyone’s a great songwriter in this band and everyone’s so good at listening to each other.”
The twelve song collection Revelator is a mix of influences and traditions from Delta Blues to Memphis soul, Southern Gospel, Sixties Rock and Seventies Funk all mixed together to create pure American music. The album opens at a deliberate pace, akin to the opening chapters of a classic novel, laying the foundation for many events to come. The songs are filled with more fervor than fire power that one would expect from a band lead by two power house guitarists.
“Come See About Me” confidently displays the full talents of the band while inviting the listener in to the party. The love song “Don’t Let Me Slide,” hints at dark days of the past punctuated by Burbridge’s funky clavinet.
“Midnight In Harlem” written by Mike Mattison reads out as a classic tale of the American hope and dreams delivered with sensitive retro soul sound ,ending with another sublime solo from Trucks, who has essentially re-invented the slide guitar. The first single “Bound For Glory,” with its gospel lilt and call and response horns, typifies the optimism that fills the album as Tedeschi wails out “Yesterday is dead and gone and I feel I’m bound for glory.” “Simple Things,” solidifies the sentiment and feeling that family has become their first priority in life with the declaration that “simple things, make life worth living,” and “Love has stolen all the bitterness ,and sent it off on the breeze.”
The albums most compelling track has to be the scorching piano driven ballad “Until You Remember,” which finds Tedeschi giving one of her signature fiery vocal performances as a jilted lover tearing her heart out in a midnight scene from a southern gothic. Nothing more exemplifies why this pairing of Tedeschi and Trucks is pure perfection as when her vocal is doubled by his guitar of the chorus line of the head banging blues rocker “Learn How to Love.”
It is fair to say taking this leap together and leaving their solo careers behind is a bold and risky move for Tedeschi and Trucks who could have safely continued on charging down the road with their individual bands and sporadic collaborations. Instead, with Revelator and the new Tedeschi Trucks Band as the first step, two great artists of our time have embarked on a journey of faith towards a wider and hopefully brighter future; because as another of their great songs tells us, “Love Has Something Else To Say.”
*originally Published in Innocent Words*