Release Date: Jan 29, 2016
Record label: Fantasy
After 2013's Made Up Mind, Tedeschi Trucks Band hit the road hard, racking up 200 dates in 2014. After Derek Trucks played the Allman Brothers Band's final shows, and TTB's parting with Sony, the 12-piece band and friends (including Doyle Bramhall II) entered their Swamp Raga Studios behind Trucks' and Susan Tedeschi's home, and began recording jam-style rehearsals; everyone was encouraged to contribute ideas, songs, etc. They'd break to work the road then return to record some more.
It's tough for great live bands to use the studio to their advantage. The Grateful Dead pretty much never figured it out, and the Allman Brothers were only sporadically successful. Some groups just need the energy of the stage, the volatility of spontaneous improvisation, the thrill of stepping into the wind on a high wire without a net to catch your fall to really shine.
The Tedeschi Trucks Band returns with its third studio album and first in three years and it’s finally the record that capitalizes on the promise this collective has had from the start. Produced by Derek Trucks alone for the first time, the material’s written in-house, and the band got down to business at its own studio. The result is a confident-sounding record never tries too hard and focuses on deep grooves with soulful lead vocals and lead guitar lines that at their best often seem gently torn from the heavens.
With the Allman Brothers retired, the jam scene's southern division needs a new top dog, and the TTB sound like it here. They're no Xerox: Guitar hero Derek Trucks has a bit more freedom than the Allmans provided – see the dreamy raga-style acoustic coda ("Swamp Raga for Holzapfel, Lefebvre, Flute and Harmonium") appended to "Cryin' Over You," the set's high point, an eight-minute orchestral soul smoker. The horns, like the grooves, also set the band apart, splitting the difference between Stax-Volt funk muscle and jazzy New Orleans elegance.