Derek Trucks Band taking a break

Derek Trucks. (Jeff Daly/WENN.COM)

Derek Trucks. (Jeff Daly/WENN.COM)

DARRYL STERDAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:50 PM ET

The Derek Trucks Band has come to the end of the road. For now.

"We're going to take a break for a few years," confirms the group's namesake guitarist from his home in Jacksonville, Fla. "We're not gigging at all this year, and possibly next year."

Coming from Trucks -- a former child prodigy who has been on the road for 20 of his 31 years, dividing his time and talents between his own DTB and his uncle Butch's combo The Allman Brothers Band -- that's some major down time. Especially now that the ABB are also off the road while frontman Gregg Allman recovers from a recent liver transplant.

But if you think Trucks will be sitting around twiddling his thumbs, think again. The multi-tasking slide-guitar master is hardly idle. He and DTB just released Roadsongs, a two-CD live album; he's been recording in his home studio with jazz legends such as Herbie Hancock and Dave Brubeck; and he's cooking up a new band with his wife, the equally talented blues singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi (who lost the contemporary blues album Grammy to him this year).

Somehow, Trucks also found the time to jaw about his favourite live albums, working with his spouse, and the price he paid for that Grammy.

I presume you record every show you play. What made these special?

It's strange. There was something about that tour we did supporting the Already Free CD. There was a two-week period where we were playing as good as the band has ever played. The chemistry was great, everybody's attitude was great ... And I think the first show in Chicago was one of the very first times in the 16 years we've toured together that we got offstage, and nobody was thinking about what they wanted to do differently or could have done better ... We said that if we ever do a live record, this should be our first choice.

Lots of jam bands put out a million live albums. You're more selective. What's your philosophy?

I feel every record you release is part of your permanent history and legacy. You don't want to throw anything out there lightly; you want to believe in everything you put out.

What's your definition of a great live album? What are some of your favourites?

You want to have the feeling that you witnessed one of the greatest shows ever performed. There's that great Donny Hathaway Live record. It's recorded so beautifully, and the band is locked in, and you can tell the audience doesn't know they're being recorded. And Live at the Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers is, of course, one of the albums I grew up with, cutting my teeth to. Those albums, they feel epic but they feel intimate. There's just something magical about them.

Congrats on the Grammy. I heard you and Susan had a bet that the loser was gonna sleep in the studio that night.

I think I slept in the studio! Nah, she was great. She was really gracious. We didn't even go. We were home, I was watching it online. I was kind of -- and still am, to a point -- anti-music awards ... (But) it's always nice to win.

So Mr. Anti-music awards, where do you keep the Grammy?

It's on top of a 'fridgerator, with the kids' baseball trophies.

Speaking of Susan, I understand you two have started a new band.

Yeah, it's the two of us, along with (ABB bassist) Oteil Burbridge and (DTB keyboardist) Kofi Burbridge. We're going to spend a good part of this year writing and recording. We have a handful of tracks we feel are really strong and another dozen or so we think are great. But we're taking our time with it.

How has it been working with your spouse?

Had we tried to do this 10 years ago, it would have been a different story. But you know, we waited until we really felt everything was right, from her career to our relationship to our kids' ages. We've been thinking about this a long time. Every once in a while, you get to a stage in life where you figure out the dynamic. So it's been a healthy, functioning thing so far.

Wait until you're sleeping on the couch in the bus.

Hey man, that's why you gotta have an extra bunk.

darryl.sterdan@sunmedia.ca


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