Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks: Bound for Glory
“We didn’t want it to be me and Susan and a bunch of guys—that idea of a bunch of players behind us,” says Derek before the show, seated on a folding chair in a walk-in closet-sized dressing room. “This time, it’s being a part of a group, almost like part of the Allmans back when—when they got offstage, it was like church. They had their handful of hits, but what had happened between those players that night?”
Derek says that while Duane Allman largely took the Allmans’ improvisational explorations as “deep as you could take it,” it was the group mind and its trust in the moment that truly lead the band. “Arethea [Franklin]’s [album] Amazing Grace was like that, too; they didn’t really know—and that’s the beauty,” Derek offers as another example. “You can prepare, but you have to be open, to listen—then be ready.”
Susan reiterates that the members of their new band—all of whom have spent considerable time in the studio and on the road—consider one another family. Their shared experiences of knowing how to navigate the trials and tribulations of band dynamics make for a tight unit.
“[These musicians] could be playing anywhere, but they recognize that there’s something more going on here,” she says. “The stories they’ve all lived are real and if there’s a void of truly honest music right now, this is about ‘What’s on your mind? What do you want to do and say?’ We [all] created Revelator from the ground up, to be about things that are real.”
Having experienced the weight of success and the burden of creating a record within traditional confines, the pair decided to take a different tact. Meeting with producers, playing with musicians they knew and loved, writing with other songwriters, the experiences collectively seemed to point toward the studio Derek built at their home outside Jacksonville, Fla.
“I was so tired of being told how to make records by people who didn’t make records,” Susan says. “They don’t come at it the same way. [Being at home] meant we could live in the music. We’ve never spent a tenth of the time on any record than we did this one—I wasn’t trying to do all the vocals on the last day, dead tired.”
She pauses, a wash of warm brown hair framing her face. “I felt great about the time and the intent that went into Revelator,” she says. “It was about the songs, what we were trying to say and not someone telling us: ‘We need more uptempo things. What can we push to radio?’ We weren’t gonna do a lot of fluff, but we wanted it to be uplifting.”
Picking up where his wife left off, Derek says. “We’d go to the things that give people hope ‘cause times are kind of rough.”
Susan quickly concurs. “Some of the things we didn’t go with are the darker stuff, [the songs in] minor keys—those got left behind,” she says. “A lot of these songs are brighter, hopeful. We’ve both worked really hard for what we have and what we are, but we wanted the music to lift people up without being a fluffy hippie love record. No one’s pretending it’s all great. We’re drawn to people who’ve been through the darkest days and survived. The surviving is what gives you the…”
Susan pauses. She doesn’t want to reduce the songs to sandwich board, up-with-people jargon-n-bromides, nor does she want to play the high drama card for brokered tension. Exhaling, she recites the lyrics from Relevator’s haltingly supple “Simple Things” to make her point.
“‘Life without sorrow, love without pain’ says it all,” she surmises. “Safety, education, health care: basic things, but honestly, they’re all you really need—or want. People are so overstimulated they don’t feel anything any more.”
Indeed, throughout Revelator there is a higher sort of ecumenicalism that borders on sanctified.
“It’s why [we don’t play as loud as we used to], it brings [the audience] in and it overwhelms them,” she says. “They can feel the truth in the music and they respond. When we play ‘Midnight In Harlem’ live, I can’t tell you how many people are crying.”
In honor of Umphrey’s McGee’s return to Summer Camp this weekend, we present the group’s Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger performing this version of “The Pequod” from UM’s Anchor Drops.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
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