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Interview:
Tedeschi Trucks Band at Meadow Brook, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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It’s been a year of mixed fortunes for the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

On one hand the group -- led by the married couple of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks -- released its best studio album yet, “Let Me Get By,” and staged more installments of its summer package tours with Los Lobos and North Mississippi Allstars last year and Hot Tuna and the Wood Brothers now. But the time has also been marked by tragedy, including the deaths of Allman Brothers Band bandmates Butch Trucks (Derek’s uncle) and Gregg Allman, while keyboardist/flautist Kofi Burbridge underwent heart surgery last month and is currently on the sidelines.

The TTB is dealing with all this the only way it knows how -- playing music and finding solace in the reason the group came together in the first place...

• Trucks, 38, says by phone from Virginia Beach that after three years of summer Wheels of Soul tours, the TTB is getting in a solid groove with the concept. “I feel like this year is the first year where...you never have it all figured out, but we’re starting to feel like we’re getting a better handle on it with the multiple buses, multiple trucks, multiple bands. Even last year I felt like we were still figuring it out a little bit, but now it feels a lot more comfortable.

• While the Wood Brothers are old friends of Trucks, Tedeschi and their bandmates, having the veteran Hot Tuna -- led by Jefferson Airplane co-founders Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady -- has brought yet another flavor to the tour. “It’s amazing hanging around with those guys and hearing all these stories they have -- some of the shows they were involved in, people they would go out and see in the early days,” Trucks says. “They’ve been in a band together since 1958, but they both feel and act like some of the youngest guys on the tour. Jack’s out walking seven to 10 miles a day. They’re total badasses. They’re great to be around and you can really tell they’re enjoying the camaraderie of the tour. The music talk and hang has been pretty inspiring.”

• Trucks says that ailing bandmate Burbridge is “doing good” after open heart surgeries to replace an aortic valve tear but it headed for “a long recovery.” “It was serious business; We were a lot closer to losing him than we ever want to be,” Trucks says. “We’re just happy he’s on the mend. We thought we were gonna get a break there after all the other stuff, but leaving the hospital after the second or third day of being there and realizing Kofi was alive and, God willing, is going to be fine, that felt like the first good news of the year.” Burbridge is currently at home recovering in Atlanta.

• Trucks says the year’s death -- including fellow southern rocker Col. Bruce Hampton -- has left him sad but also charged to keep their music alive. “You don’t want to feel too sorry for yourself, but the cumulative effect wears you down a little bit,” he says. “There’s a lot of shared experience and shared loss, and those are the things you lean on. You do look back and realize how lucky you were to be in the orbit of some of these people for as long as you were. There’s a lot to learn and a lot to try to carry on. The ethos that you learn from being around those guys like that, that’s always there and you just try to use that to keep it alive.”

• Trucks says the TTB has already started the process of its next album, too. “I guess we’re probably 10 or so tunes into writing for the next record,” he notes. “There’s a tune or two that we’ve (played live) a few times, just to kind of feel ‘em out live. I think after this tour the plan is to head in and really get cranking on making a record. Kofi’s health situation has kind of thrown the whole schedule a little bit sideways; We want to wait ‘til he’s up and running before we get back in the studio, but we’ll still use the time to write and to continue to work on it. The studio may be a way to ease him back into the mix, ‘cause the road is not the place to do that. Maybe we’ll just set up a bed in the studio...”



If You Go

• The Wheels of Soul 2017 Tour with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Hot Tuna and the Wood Brothers

6:30 p.m. Sunday, July 23.

• Meadow Brook Amphitheatre on the Oakland University campus in Rochester Hills.

• Tickets are $35-$99.50 pavilion, $25 lawn.

• Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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