Derek Trucks: A Legend In The Making (Relix Revisited, 1998)
Wherever he goes, whatever he’s doing, he’s always looking to enhance his already ample skills. “When we played San Francisco, we drove over to Ali Akbar College Of Music and watched him teach a class,” said Trucks. “It was pretty heavy. There are over 40 people at the college who have been studying under him for over 20 years. It’s like a religion; it’s not music. When he walked in, everyone stood up. It was one of the heaviest auras I’ve ever experienced. I actually bought a sarod there, the Indian instrument that he plays, and played it on our album.”
These days, he’s been picking up some tricks from the Frogwings guys. “Sitting down with people like Oteil and Jimmy and picking their brains has definitely been helpful,” continued Trucks. “But the only problem with guys like that is that they’re almost too humble when you ask them to show you. They’re almost reluctant, they’re so polite,” he joked.
When speaking of his own band, Trucks said, “Yonrico [Scott, drums] is the oldest guy in the band [at 42], and he’s been doing this forever. He brings a classical orientation to the band, having played with everything from symphonies to Whitney Houston. He’s so knowledgeable in music, and he’s one of the better drummers I’ve heard.
“Todd Smallie [bass] comes from the same place I do. We listen to the same stuff, and he’s just as hard-core. He’s improved 200 percent since he’s been in the band, and he’s still progressing, like me. And Bill [McKay, keyboards], he’s from Colorado and brings a more folky thing to us. He’s been in a bunch of Dead bands and stuff, and I think his B-3 is essential to what we’re going for. He had a lot to do with our sound changing.”
When it came time to record the CD, Trucks again displayed an unusual maturity by tapping John Snyder, Grammy winning producer of blues and jazz greats such as Jimmy Wells, Gatemouth Brown, Etta James and Ornette Coleman, to produce. To best capture Trucks’ true sound, Snyder had the band record live in the studio. Trucks feels he made the right call. “It felt very natural with John,” he said. “We went in and played our set. He picked out a few cuts and we did them over again, and that was basically it. It was pretty spur-of-the-moment. He chose a few cuts that needed a few vocal and keyboard overdubs. But it took only four or five days of recording, less than a week in total with mixing.”
In an obvious nod to his heroes, Trucks deftly works through a number of covers on the CD, from Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints” to John Coltrane’s “Mr. PC” and Miles Davis’ “So What.” But his originals, like the blues-groove of “555 Lake,” and straight-ahead jazz of “Out Of Madness” show his mastery of the different genres.
Trucks also has his own vision of how he wants to attain success—by relying on his own skills to survive and not taking handouts nor depending on his connections. “[The band is] very grassroots at this point,” he maintained. “We’re trying to set the fire from the bottom, and we’ll see what happens. I think it’ll work as long as we can keep it afloat. Unfortunately, it’s very costly to have a band on the road, so it’s hard. But I think it’ll work itself out.” Trucks said that while going to music school is always an option, right now the band is his number one priority.
When asked about the Gregg Allman set for which he opened and joined in as a special guest, Trucks said it was one of 1997’s high points. “That was a great show, and the first time he had brought me out. During the show, Trucks got a standing ovation during his solo in “Need Your Love.” He laughed again, reminded of the reaction of both the crowd and the band. Again, the accolades didn’t seem to faze him. It’s not his style to dwell on those things because, as he says, “I’m not there yet musically.” Apparently, many think he is.
This year, though, maybe he’ll get closer to “there” in his own mind, as he plans to spend even more time on the road and release another CD. He excitedly outlined his plans: “We want to tour really hard in 1998, keep hitting it and in the summer, maybe in the spring, we’ll have another album out. We want to get that rolling, hopefully releasing one a year, maybe one every six months, because as much as we play, it’s not hard to work in new music.” Having already laid down several tracks with Herring, the new CD should help clear up any misconceptions about Trucks, by establishing his reputation as a talented performer with a unique sound.
Part of charting his own course, however, may mean having to play in the shadow of his famous uncle. For Derek Trucks’ sake, just remember that being related to an Allman Brother doesn’t mean you have to sound like one.
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.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
- Alex Bleeker & The Freaks: How Far Away
- First Look: Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s Blue Note Debut Lickety Split
- The Rolling Stones with Dave Grohl (Gallery and Clip)
- Lotus "Age of Inexperience" (Official Video)
- Morning Teleporation Share "People On My Floor"
- The National at Public Assembly and on Colbert (Gallery and Clips)
- John Fogerty and Dawes "Someday Never Comes" on Letterman
- Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers "Little Too Late" Live at the Hangout
- Interlocken Festival to Feature Neil Young, Furthur, String Cheese Incident, Black Crowes, Zac Brown and More
- Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "Friend of The Devil" at the Beacon
- The Salvation of Page McConnell (Relix Revisited)
- Interlocken Adds Widespread Panic and John Fogerty, Furthur to Play Workingman’s Dead
- Warren Haynes and Joe Bonamassa "If Heartaches Were Nickels"
- The Final Ingredient in Dogfish Head’s Grateful Dead Tribute Ale Is…
- Stone Gossard Readies His Moonlander
- Trey Anastasio Band at The Hangout (Video Stream)
- Doctor’s Orders: So what should we call the Super Ball IX Newspaper?
- John Kadlecik Posts Statement on Bob Weir’s Collapse
- "I Wanne Be In moe.": The Latest Volunteers
- Bob Weir Escorted Off Stage During Furthur Show
- Vote for Your Favorite "I Wanne Be In moe." Contestant
- Furthur Cancels BottleRock Show as Bob Weir Is Out Of Commision
- Doctor’s Orders: What’s Your Favorite Furthur Song? (Win Copy of Relix Signed by Phil and Bobby)
- On The Verge Poll