STORY WRITTEN BY CHRIS CAMERON
21st Century Media
The Tedeschi Trucks Band thinks big and plays big, but at its core it’s all about family. The 11-piece blues, rock, soul band hailing from Jacksonville Florida recently released its third album, “Made Up Mind” landing the Grammy-Award winning group at #1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart and debuting at #11 on the Top 200. To hear co-founder Derek Trucks tell it, the release was
“It’s new territory for us,” Trucks said. “We’re used to putting out releases and people not really knowing about them, but it doesn’t really change anything. We’re constantly looking ahead to the next album and working hard. There’s not a lot of back-slapping in this band.”
The Tedeschi Trucks Band was formed in 2010 when Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi, decided to dissolve their respective solo careers and join forces. Initially the group started as a project to allow the couple to spend more time with their family, but the band’s 2011 “Revelator,” release earned the band a Grammy for Best Blues Album. Despite Trucks’ work as a guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band, TTB has not slowed its schedule and the band has
With two drummers and a dynamic horn section, there’s plenty of interplay between Trucks’s greasy slide guitar and Tedeschi’s searing vocals.
“We hit the studio with a lot more confidence,” he said. “We knew how the band should sound and what we’re capable of.”
The group records at the couple’s home studio and its members take their job seriously. Trucks said that any time spent in the studio is productive because the band members have been at it long enough to know what they want to achieve and because their time off the road is valuable.
“It’s a pretty powerful entity,” Trucks said. “For me it’s like steering a ship. There are a lot of different personalities in the band, but we have great communication about what worked and what didn’t work. I’ve been in enough bands to know that a lack of communication can be the downfall to many groups.”
Trucks has learned what to do and what not to do in music and in life by being surrounded by professional musicians from a very early age. He picked up the guitar at age nine and started playing open mics in Jacksonville. His uncle is Butch Trucks, a founding member of The Allman Brothers. It wasn’t long before he found himself sharing the stage with many of his musical heroes. He has been a member of The Allman Brothers Band for the past 15 years, but left earlier this year to pursue his work in The Tedeschi Trucks Band. He has toured with BB King, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and many others. Seeing what life is like for professional musicians from an early age taught him values that he holds today.
“I saw a lot of musicians come and go,” he said. “Growing up around the Allmans and having cousins that came from broken families I realized that if you’re going to have a family your kids can’t be road casualties. You have to balance your career and your family.”
When he met Tedeschi she was touring with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band, while he was touring with the Allmans and it was a love at first sight moment. He told his friends that he was done with dating until he met a woman that could fulfill a particular list of qualifications; mainly that she had to have similar musical tastes as him.
“After I met her, I called up my friends and told them to be careful what you wished for,” he said. “The guys in Double Trouble didn’t want her hanging out with anyone from The Allman Brothers Band, so I actually had to win over her band to date her.”
Playing in an 11-piece band with a busy touring schedule is a lot of responsibility, but his role as dad is an even bigger one.
IF YOU GO: The Tedeschi Trucks Band will be at the Keswick Theater on Thursday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 5. The Saturday show is sold out according to www.keswicktheatre.com. Check the website for more information, or call 215-572-7650.