Tedeschi Trucks Band

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Tedeschi Trucks Band is a 12-piece blues-rock ensemble led by guitarists Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. They are road warriors, often playing more than 200 dates a year. 2011′s Revelator, their Grammy-winning Sony Masterworks debut, showcased a sound deeply grounded in roots music that cuts across and entwines blues, rock, jazz, soul, gospel, funk, country, various African musics, and Indian raga. 2012′s Live: Everybody's Talkin' revealed a penchant for inventive covers, and a preference for improvisation. 2013′s Made Up Mind included collaborations with songwriters including Eric Krasno and Sonya Kitchell. 2017′s Let Me Get By, was co-written by the entire band. 2018′s Live from the Fox Oakland also won a Grammy. 2019′s Signs was composed of all-original material. It was the last to include keyboardist Kofi Burbridge, who died of a heart attack on its release date. In 2021, TTB released Layla Revisited [Live at LOCKN'] with special guest Trey Anastasio. During the summer of 2022, they released their most ambitious project, the four-LP set I Am the Moon. Each release — I Am the Moon I: Crescent; II: Ascension; III: The Fall; IV: Farewell — was accompanied by a corresponding film.
Tedeschi and Trucks led and played in separate bands for many years. (In addition to his own group, the guitarist was a longstanding member of the Allman Brothers Band.) Their touring schedules kept them apart for months at a time. Their own band began as a summer touring unit known as Soul Stew Revival. What began as a touring opportunity for the pair and their young family to spend time together became a full-time musical consideration. Soul Stew Revival featured members of their respective bands and numerous guests. The loose-knit cooperative outfit performed roof-raising shows full of soul, blues, funk, and gospel standards, as well as original material. After one of these tours, the pair decided to create a home studio to be better able to finance their own recordings.
The duo performed a cover of “Space Captain” on Herbie Hancock’s Imagine Project, and solidified an 11-piece band birthed from their own units with horn players and percussionists. Renamed the Tedeschi Trucks Band, they signed to Sony Masterworks. The band (and guests) recorded more than 30 songs before paring them down to the 11 choices included on Revelator, their 2011 debut album. First single “Midnight in Harlem” gained traction at radio. The album won a Grammy for best blues album in 2012 while TTB won another for best live band. In the spring of 2012 they issued Live: Everybody's Talkin', a double-disc set that featured material from Revelator alongside carefully chosen and uniquely arranged covers. August 2013 brought Made Up Mind a second studio set that featured TTB co-writing (at Sony’s suggestion) with Gary Louris, Doyle Bramhall II, Sonya Kitchell, and Eric Krasno. It took home a Blues Music Award.
The band toured almost nonstop. They composed new material on the road, and developed a unique collection of covers from the annals of blues, rock, soul, jazz, and country music; they also explored African and Indian music on-stage in their arrangements. After the final Allman Brothers Band tour, Trucks was able to devote all of his energies to TTB, that now included a dozen members. They entered Swamp Raga Studio (built behind the couple’s house in Jacksonville, Florida) and, with Trucks producing, recorded ten songs co-composed by the band, a first. Let Me Get By was released by Fantasy in January 2016; it debuted at number 15 in the Top 200 and took home two Blues Music Awards. Live from the Fox Oakland, a live double-album recorded during the support tour for Let Me Get By, appeared in March 2017 and was nominated for a Grammy. The following year, TTB commenced their self-released series of Live from the Swamp albums, comprised of various live shows issued directly to fan club members.
In February of 2019 the band released Signs on Fantasy, co-produced by Trucks with Bobby Tis and Jim Scott. The all-original 11-track release featured guest appearances from guitarists Warren Haynes and Doyle Bramhall II, as well as Allman Brothers Band percussionist Marc Quinones. Lyrically, the album reflected recent losses suffered by the band, including the deaths of Trucks’ uncle (and bandmate) Butch Trucks, Gregg Allman, and Col. Bruce Hampton. Keyboardist Kofi Burbridge, who suffered a heart attack in 2017, took time off to recuperate. He returned to play on the album, but had another major coronary and died on the album’s release date. The single “Hard Case” landed inside the Top 40 while the long-player peaked at number 28.
That summer, TTB played a special one-off gig at the LOCKN’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia. Enlisting Phish guitarist and vocalist Trey Anastasio as a guest, they performed Derek and the Dominos’ classic 1970 album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs track by track. It was released in July 2021 as Layla Revisited [Live at LOCKN'].
Across the summer months of 2022, Tedeschi-Trucks Band, now a dozen members strong, released their most ambitious project to date. Composed of four individually released albums and four accompanying films, I Am The Moon was begun two years earlier after the band had been forced off the road by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mattison fell under the spell of the 100-page poem Layla and Majnun, about a pair of star crossed lovers by the 12th century Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. It inspired Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs — an influential album for TTB. Ganjavi’s epic narrative poem resonated with the singer in a different way. After reading the original work, he sent an email to his bandmates proposing that they read and revisit the materials as songwriters. By January 2021 the band was recording at Swamp Raga with Trucks producing. They holed up for several weeks, writing the entire 24-song, two-hour-plus project collectively and in teams.
They divided the music into four albums issued in monthly installments. They enlisted award-winning American documentary filmmaker, graphic designer, and television writer Alix Lambert to document the recording process. She combined footage of studio recording with performance footage, as well as atmospheric photography and imagery heavily influenced by Pasaquan, an artistic project founded in Buena Vista, Georgia by folk artist Eddie Owens Martin (now known as St. EOM).
While the band toured, each film premiered days before its accompanying music was released. The first volume, I: Crescent saw release on June 3, II: Ascension followed on July 1; III: The Fall, on July 29; and IV: Farewell on August 26. A deluxe box set containing all the music and films was released in September. ~ Thom Jurek