Tedeschi Trucks roll out for tour

Darryl Sterdan, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are on a roll.

It’s barely been a year since the married musicians introduced their eponymous Tedeschi Trucks Band with the disc Revelator — but in that time, they’ve amassed reams of rave reviews, won a Grammy for Best Blues Album, barnstormed North America and issued the equally acclaimed new live CD Everybody’s Talkin’. Still, not everybody’s marvelling at their runaway success.

“Honestly, I had really high hopes for it,” chuckles 33-year-old slide- guitar god Trucks, who leads the band with his 41-year-old singer- guitarist wife. “I usually try to undersell everything and then overachieve, but once we started practising and hanging out together, I realized there was a pretty limitless potential with this band. Of course, you never know how people are going to receive it, so the waves of goodwill have been a pleasant surprise. But I always knew it would catch musically. I’ve never been in a band quite like this.”

Maybe that’s because bands like this haven’t been around since the hippie era. Boasting 11 members and a sound to match — the ensemble melds rock, blues, soul, R&B, gospel and more into a groovy musical gumbo — TTB openly and proudly follows the trail blazed by legendary ’60s outfits like Delaney & Bonnie & Friends and Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

That trail leads the group — joined by the couple’s two kids — to Canada this summer for their most extensive run, a series of theatre and festival appearances. But first, Trucks — whose uncle Butch plays drums in his other band, The Allman Brothers — talked about working with his spouse, playing angry and kicking out the jams.

In hindsight, do you wish you and Susan had done this years ago?

You know, I think the timing was just right at this point. We both had solo careers on the go that we put on hold for this. Had we done it sooner, I think we both would have felt like we had unfinished business with our other bands. But we got to say a lot with those groups, so now I don’t feel like we left a lot of meat on those bones.

And now we can put everything into this.

Even though you’ve been together for a decade and worked together on occasion, going into business full-time together is a different dynamic. Has it affected your relationship?

I think one of the reasons we waited 10 years to do it was to have the maturity and learn how we worked together. So by the time we jumped in, we had a pretty good handle on it. But even so, until you do it, you don’t know. And the first six months of this band was really about us musically finding our place. It takes time. But getting to be together and travel and do everything together as opposed to 5% of it is a great tradeoff. And it’s pretty amazing how well it’s been rolling along. You have ups and down with anything, but it’s been infinitely better than I imagined.

When you have a fight and then have to go play, do you play better?

Sometimes, tension is good, you know. (Laughs) I notice if Susan’s frustrated when she has to rip off a guitar solo, it’s pretty fierce.

So it does happen. But you really do try to gauge the day so you don’t bring anything to the stage. The stage is Switzerland.

What about your temper?

It comes and goes. I feel like 97% of the time, I have pretty good control over it. But we’re all human. It’s about keeping it reined in.

So you’re really just a seething ball of rage?

That’s right (laughs). It’s right under the surface. It’s ready to go.

I was trying to count how many live albums you’ve appeared on and gave up. Do you even know?

It’s quite a few. But (Everybody’s Talkin’) is the first one we really treated like a studio album. Usually you just record the band and make do with what you get. But we spent a lot of time on the front end trying to figure out how to capture the sounds we get in our studio on the road. And we put together a travelling recording rig with a lot of the old gear from our studio. It was like an updated version of a ’70s recording truck. So there was a lot of time and energy and treasure invested. And once the tour was over — we recorded 12 shows that way — we went in and dug through the shows and pinpointed the best performances. And we spent as much time mixing this as we did on any of the studio records.

Is there some kind of a signal that goes off in your bus whenever there’s a jam somewhere? Because you seem to take part in every one.

Yeah, we’ve got a lot of amazing calls this year — things that it’s hard to say no to. There was a White House concert, the Hubert Sumlin Memorial. We’ve been really fortunate. And if I’m around and somebody asks if I want to come play with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock or B.B. King or Wayne Shorter, I’ll be there.

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Tedeschi Trucks Band Canadian tour dates:

June 19 | Vancouver | Centre for the Performing Arts

June 21 | Calgary | Jack Singer Concert Hall

June 22 | Edmonton | Jubilee Auditorium

June 29 | Toronto | Jazz Festival

July 6 | Winnipeg | Folk Festival

July 7 | Thunder Bay | Blues Festival

July 10 | Ottawa | Bluesfest

July 11 | Quebec City | Festival

Sept. 14 | Fredericton | Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival

 


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