Friday, January 31, 2014

The Tedeschi Trucks Band at John Varvatos

Derek Trucks was born into a musical destiny in Jacksonville, Florida. His uncle, Butch Trucks, was a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band about 10 years before Derek was born. Trucks was even named after Eric Clapton's band, Derek and the Dominos. At age nine, Trucks bought his first guitar at a yard sale for $5 and played his first paid performance by age 11. Even then, he began playing the guitar using a "slide" bar in order to aid his small, young hands. By his 13th birthday, Trucks had played alongside blues legend Buddy Guy. Derek formed the Derek Trucks Band in 1996, which recorded albums and won a Grammy Award. As a teen-ager, he played as a guest in the Allman Brothers Band and formally joined the band at age 20. He later played in Clapton's touring band.

Susan Tedeschi, born and raised in Massachusetts, played in bands by age 13. While attending the Berklee College of Music, she began sitting in on blues jams at local venues. She formed the Susan Tedeschi Band in 1993, whose albums were nominated for Grammy Awards.

Trucks and Tedeschi met in 1999 inNew Orleans, Louisiana, when she was the opening act on the Allman Brothers Band's summer tour.  The couple married in 2001. They combined their bands to form the Soul Stew Revival in 2007 and later formed the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, soon to be renamed the Tedeschi Trucks Band, in 2010. In 2012, the Tedeschi Trucks Band won the Grammy Award for Best Blues Album for the band's debut album Revelator. The band's most recent album is 2013's Made Up Mind.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the Beacon Theater in 2013, but tonight returned to New York for a free invitation-only concert at the much smaller John Varvatos clothing store at the site of the old CBGB's. The set consisted of only eight songs, but lasted an hour due to extended jams on each song. First and foremost, the band proved it was an awesome blues band, with Tedeschi and Trucks complementing each other well. Both well rooted in southern blues, Tedeschi sang soulfully and powerfully like Bonnie Raitt or Etta James while Trucks played lead and slide guitar like, well, the Allman Brothers Band. Beginning with the title track of the most recent album, "Make Up Mind," and "Do I Look Worried" to the closing "Bound for Glory" and "The Storm," Trucks proved why his name appeared twice in Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time," and Tedeschi's vocals similarly soared and glided sweetly from the stage. Tedeschi and Trucks skillfully punctuated the musical framework, but also encouraged their fellow musicians to step up and shine for a full band sound. In all, the performance was a loose yet ingenuous blend of roots-based rock and soul, southern rock, blues and jam band, all wrapped with a loving kiss of Florida swamp magic.

Visit the Tedeschi Trucks Band at