In the New England area, there is a chain of convenience stores called Tedeschi Food Shops. The stores were started in the 1920’s by a guy named Angelo Tedeschi. And like any good family, one would assume his great-granddaughter Susan would enter the family business.
But Tedeschi had other plans. From an early age, she listened to blues and sang in gospel choirs. Graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music in the early ’90’s, she played in blues clubs around town.
Throughout that decade, she played blues in her own band, even appearing in the wildly popular all-female Lilith Fair. Stylistically, her singing has been described as a blend of Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin. (Since one must always make comparisons.) She’s also a hell of a blues guitarist.
Derek Trucks is the nephew of Butch Trucks, one of the original Allman Brothers Band drummers. Trucks grew up around music and turned out to be a flaming whiz-kid who could play slide like Duane and lead guitar like nobody’s business. He formed his own band in the ’90’s and in 1999, joined the Allmans. When Dickey Betts got thrown out for acting like a dick, they brought in Warren Haynes and it was this dual-guitar configuration that lasted till the ABB’s breakup in 2014.
Trucks first met Tedeschi in New Orleans in 1999, soon after joining the Allmans, when the Allmans and Tedeschi’s eponymous blues-rock band kicked off a tour at the Saenger Theatre (In New Orleans.)
Did the then-20-year-old guitarist’s newly acquired rock star status give him the confidence to approach Tedeschi, who is eight years his senior? “It might’ve helped,” Trucks said.
By the end of that tour they were a couple. They got married in 2001 and had a couple of kids. (I saw an interview with them in which Trucks said that the more they introduce their kids to people like Ray Charles, Beatles or Zeppelin, the more they appreciate that music and not just what they hear from their peers.)
Derek had had his own band as well as playing with the Allmans. In 2010, inspired by Joe Cocker’s tribal Mad Dogs and Englishmen, the two combined forces to form the Tedeschi Trucks band. Their music is a tasty mix of blues, soul, funk, country and R&B.
Something eventually had to give and so Trucks (and Haynes) gave their notice and the Allmans – after a long, tumultous, groundbreaking, fucked-up ride – disbanded in 2014. (Yours truly attended one of their very last concerts at the Beacon Theater in New York.)
The Tedeschi Trucks (formerly Soul Stew Revival) debut album, Revelator, won a Grammy for best blues album. Both Trucks as a guitarist and the band have played at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads festival. (Somewhat maintaining that mystical Duane-Eric connection.)
Here’s a song from Revelator, “Midnight in Harlem:”
Derek Truck is 16th on Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time. The band continues to tour and record and the duo somehow manage to do all that and raise a couple of young kids.
And speaking of touring, they are currently doing just that and are due in Boston in early December. Hmm…