Ironbound For Glory at the NJPAC
A SoundPress.net Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch
The Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB) is an eleven-piece ensemble fronted by their namesakes Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. Separately, this husband and wife team have won Grammys and much acclaim from fans and fellow musicians. Together they have continued on the tracks of success with TTB and their record Revelator that won a Grammy in 2012 for Best Blues Album.
The award- winning Tedeschi Trucks Band on stage in Newark at the NJPAC.
Although Tedeschi's stirring vocals and Truck's signature guitar work are central to their sound, what makes the group great is their interplay. Derek quietly directs TTB like a jazz ensemble, encouraging freedom and exploration to showcase the talents of all the players. TTB is tight and their music is a rich blend of blues, funk, gospel, jazz, rock, roots and soul.
At a young age, Susan took an interest in music that led her to the Berklee College of Music where she graduated with a degree in music composition. Within a few years, Tedeschi was leading her own band and opening for Buddy Guy and the Rolling Stones. Susan's break out album Just Won't Burn reached gold status, earned her a Grammy nomination and expanded her fan base. Susan formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with her husband in 2010.
Derek Trucks is well-known for his work in the Allman Brothers Band.
Derek was learning and performing as a youth. Trucks took up the slide at age eleven because at that time his fingers were too small to hold down the guitar strings thus developing his craft early. By age 20, Trucks was jamming with some of his heroes including John Lee Hooker. In addition to fronting the Derek Trucks Band he became a permanent member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band in 1999. He married Susan in 2001 and they have effectively blended their personal and professional lives together.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in downtown Newark on April 27, 2013. The NJPAC is one of the largest performing arts centers in the United States with extensive educational programs. The NJPAC is a multi-tiered theater of wood with ornate decor combined with state of the art lighting and sound.
Susan Tedeschi maintained a heralded solo blues career before teaming up with her husband Derek in TTB.
TTB was warmly greeted by their fans as they took the stage with its colorful backdrop. Following in the tradition of jam bands like the Allmans, TTB had two full drum kits and the inclusion of a horn section added more range to their sound. The opener "Made Up Mind" highlighted this versatility. The band was potent and Susan sang with passion as Derek stepped up for the first of many sizzling guitar solos. Tedeschi mentioned that this was a new song from a record that should be coming out in August.
The first tune set the tone for the evening as TTB delivered a setlist that was diverse with dynamic instrumentation from all members of the band. There was plenty of interplay and everyone had an opportunity to shine.
There were smiles on the stage and in the crowd during TTB's two-hour performance.
TTB performed a number of tracks from the successful Revelator album including the fan favorite "Bound For Glory." The piece was expansive and packed with emotion. Kofi's keyboard solo was riveting as it flowed into a rousing exchange with Oteil on bass. The music intensified as it progressed with Trucks taking it to an even higher level with his soaring solo.
Afterwards, Burbridge switched to a flute as Derek strummed an acoustic with Susan subtlety singing a tune that was magical and melodic. The trio was countered by a full throttle rocker with the whole band and Trucks blazing on an electric. Kofi returned to the flute as the band jammed on a whimsical piece with world tones that included the horns crafting singular sounds from their instruments followed by dueling drums.
Tedeschi's soulful vocals are the foundation of TTB's spectacular sound.
"How you all feeling out there," asked trombonist Saunders who introduced the band. They moved into the soulful "Old Time Lovin' " with its gospel textures and tones. TTB paid tribute to Elmore James with their tantalizing spin on "The Sky Is Crying" before bringing the show to a brilliant close with more blues based rockers.
Opening for TTB was Martin Sexton. Martin is a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer who started his music career busking at Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Since then, he has worked his way up to touring the world and he has collaborated with many contemporary artists including John Mayer who he is sometimes compared to.
Trucks played a lot of slide and traded licks with Susan all night long.
"Good evening ladies and gentlemen from New Jersey," greeted Sexton. Martin did an impressive job of engaging the audience with just a guitar and his voice. He had an incredible range that went from high to low with lots of interesting inflections in between. Sexton also had a diverse approach to the acoustic. He aptly played lead and rhythm together as well as adding different textures into his music. During the first song he got fans to sing along which he did throughout his set.
"Beautiful gig," stated Martin observing the splendor of the NJPAC as he moved into the reflective "Freedom of the Road" - a song about travel. The next song showcased spirited strumming and vocal effects that at times sounded like horns and a snare drum.
A solid horn section added brass and some brashness to the jubilant jamband.
He performed "Where It Begins" from the The American album as an ode to the spring. It was filled with visual lyrics and vibrant vocals. Another track was a tribute to American diners and this piece had the effect of movement as it mentioned various foods.
"Got my start in Boston," shared Martin who included yodeling and other high notes in a song that also had gruff singing and a swampy New Jersey part. "America The Beautiful" was stellar with varied vocal styling and strumming. Sexton closed his set with a cover of Buffalo Springfield's "For What its Worth" giving the classic his own unique spin.
TTB left the Ironbound section of New Jersey in a blaze of glory with their cohesive and colorful concert. The NJPAC was a great venue to see this high caliber act but have no fear TTB will be on tour for much of 2013 including dates with The Black Crowes July 19 through August 15, 2013.
Tedeschi Trucks Band Members:
The acclaimed Martin Sexton opened the show with an engaging solo acoustic set.
(Originally Published on April 28, 2013)
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