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All In The Moment

4 December 2012 | 5:01 am | Michael Smith

"We wanna play new stuff, but we’re holdin’ because nowadays, with the way that everybody videos and YouTubes, you just can’t keep anything fresh without people putting it out there..."

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With some bands, it's what's on the record that matters, and those bands try hard to replicate their records. For the 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band, the studio album is very much a sketch of what you'll hear when you catch them in concert, true to the tradition from which they spring despite most members still only being in their 30s. It channels the glory days of 1970's blue-rock jamming, when bands from Led Zeppelin to The Allman Brothers Band would really stretch out and blow their thunder.

The Allman Brothers reference is apposite of course when talking about the fiery guitar playing of Derek Trucks. The guitarist's uncle, Butch Trucks, is the founding drummer and Derek has been playing off and on with him since 1992, when he was 13. Derek has also played in Eric Clapton's band and fronted his own act until 2010, when he decided it was time to share the bill with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, an exceptional singer and guitarist in her own right whose band often shared the bill with Trucks. As Tedeschi Trucks Band, they released their debut album, Revelator, last year, the album winning the Best Blues Album category at this year's Grammy Awards. But it's live on stage that these musicians really shine, which is why the next logical step was the release of a two-CD live set, Everybody's Talkin'.

“Well, the band is so animated and so creative – everybody is,” Tedeschi explains. “So it's really fun each night to play because you never know exactly what people are gonna do, and there's different energy, depending on the audience and the band, depending on how they feel on the night, so it's an exciting band to be in for sure. It's a blast, no doubt about it.”

Drawn from a dozen or so concert recordings from their American tour last Northern autumn, Everybody's Talkin' is a vibrant mix of originals and covers, which peaked in the top three best-selling albums in the US Billboard Blues Chart. The set included a 16-plus-minute version of Stevie Wonder's Uptight

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“Some of the songs, of course, are from our first band record and some of them are just fun songs for us to cover and ones that have good energy and, you know what, are fun to play and things that people tend to like,” she chuckles. “You know, all the time we try to incorporate new music into our set, whether it's writing new original stuff or covers of old classics, just different things that inspire us at the time, and we try and dwell on arrangements of things that we do cover so they're sort of an original arrangement.

“And we try to play some songs that will show off different band members, maybe give the drummers [JJ Johnson and Tyler Greenwell] a solo or give our trumpet player [Maurice Brown] a solo, or our tenor sax player [Kebbi Williams] or keyboards player [Kofi Burbridge, from The Derek Trucks Band], or Derek, of course, or me, or we get a different singer, get [backing singer] Mike [Mattison] to sing lead. So we try and mix it up all the time, and it's growing and growing. We already have a bunch of new material and it's hard to not play it, 'cause we wanna play new stuff, but we're holdin' because nowadays, with the way that everybody videos and YouTubes, you just can't keep anything fresh without people putting it out there – unlike the old days – so it's definitely a different game.”

With some bands, it's what's on the record that matters, and those bands try hard to replicate their records. For the 11-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band, the studio album is very much a sketch of what you'll hear when you catch them in concert, true to the tradition from which they spring despite most members still only being in their 30s. It channels the glory days of 1970's blue-rock jamming, when bands from Led Zeppelin to The Allman Brothers Band would really stretch out and blow their thunder.

The Allman Brothers reference is apposite of course when talking about the fiery guitar playing of Derek Trucks. The guitarist's uncle, Butch Trucks, is the founding drummer and Derek has been playing off and on with him since 1992, when he was 13. Derek has also played in Eric Clapton's band and fronted his own act until 2010, when he decided it was time to share the bill with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, an exceptional singer and guitarist in her own right whose band often shared the bill with Trucks. As Tedeschi Trucks Band, they released their debut album, Revelator, last year, the album winning the Best Blues Album category at this year's Grammy Awards. But it's live on stage that these musicians really shine, which is why the next logical step was the release of a two-CD live set, Everybody's Talkin'.

“Well, the band is so animated and so creative – everybody is,” Tedeschi explains. “So it's really fun each night to play because you never know exactly what people are gonna do, and there's different energy, depending on the audience and the band, depending on how they feel on the night, so it's an exciting band to be in for sure. It's a blast, no doubt about it.”

Drawn from a dozen or so concert recordings from their American tour last Northern autumn, Everybody's Talkin' is a vibrant mix of originals and covers, which peaked in the top three best-selling albums in the US Billboard Blues Chart. The set included a 16-plus-minute version of Stevie Wonder's Uptight. 

“Some of the songs, of course, are from our first band record and some of them are just fun songs for us to cover and ones that have good energy and, you know what, are fun to play and things that people tend to like,” she chuckles. “You know, all the time we try to incorporate new music into our set, whether it's writing new original stuff or covers of old classics, just different things that inspire us at the time, and we try and dwell on arrangements of things that we do cover so they're sort of an original arrangement.

“And we try to play some songs that will show off different band members, maybe give the drummers [JJ Johnson and Tyler Greenwell] a solo or give our trumpet player [Maurice Brown] a solo, or our tenor sax player [Kebbi Williams] or keyboards player [Kofi Burbridge, from The Derek Trucks Band], or Derek, of course, or me, or we get a different singer, get [backing singer] Mike [Mattison] to sing lead. So we try and mix it up all the time, and it's growing and growing. We already have a bunch of new material and it's hard to not play it, 'cause we wanna play new stuff, but we're holdin' because nowadays, with the way that everybody videos and YouTubes, you just can't keep anything fresh without people putting it out there – unlike the old days – so it's definitely a different game.”

Tedeschi Trucks Band play the following shows:

 

Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 March, West Coast Blues 'N' Roots, Fremantle Park
Tuesday 26 March - Hamer Hall, Melbourne

Thursday 28 March and Friday 29 - Bluesfest, Byron Bay;
Sunday 31 March - Enmore Theatre, Sydney

Everybody's Talkin' is out now through Sony Music