(B007KDFWRG SONY MASTERWORKS – Available in CD/Vinyl/MP3 Download)
Anyone who happened to have tuned into my show this past Saturday night (May 27) got quite a treat, and already has a pretty good idea of what this review is going to say.
Let me start by saying that the new Tedeshi/Trucks band CD is the best new music I’ve heard in years. Fronted by the husband/wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeshi, “Everybody’s Talkin’” is a rocking blues menagerie that delights the eardrums…an aural orgasm in track after track. The eleven piece band is at fever pitch from the first note to the last. One of the truly impressive aspects of this release is the way Derek Trucks leads the band; allowing time for each and every member to grab the spotlight for a bit before slipping back into the mix of blues, rock, soul and gospel. The sound is immense and intense, but manages to be both thunder and dew drops and virtually everything in between.
Derek Trucks is the nephew of long time Allman Brothers percussionist Butch Trucks, so Derek grew up with the aura of Duane Allman and the virtuosity of Duane’s slide guitar playing firmly planted in his mindset. Even his name spoke to Duane's legacy, having been inspired by the one instance of Duane pairing with Eric Clapton on the Derek and the Dominos lone studio album. Emulating Duane was a place for him to begin his path to a style and technique all his own. While he still pays tribute to the legend who left us back in 1970, mainly by playing the same brand and make of guitar, the Gibson SG, Derek is no copycat killer. His sound is unique and his alone. Susan Tedeshi, whom I first heard of back in 1987 on a live radio show in Austin, Texas, was a talented singer and guitarist just starting to break into the public view. Back then, she was an acoustic folkie who wrote her own songs and went on tour with just her voice and guitar. Some years back, after they each had gained some notoriety, he as the mainstay guitarist in the reassembled Allman Brothers band, she on ground-breaking solo releases that showcased both her voice and guitar playing becoming grittier, they began playing on each other’s records and sitting in on each other’s live performances. They eventually married and chose to keep their music separated; continuing on as they had been. Then, inevitably, around the beginning of 2011, they joined forces and began work on “Revelator”, their first CD. This release received great reviews and became a “must-have” item for blues aficionados worldwide. After releasing “Revelator”, the band went on tour and someone was smart enough to remember to take recording equipment…and now we are truly privileged to be able to hear what went down while they were on the road.
“Everybody’s Talkin’” starts with their arrangement of title song; a minor hit and the theme music to the Dustin Hoffman/Jon Voigt movie “Midnight Cowboy”. I’m sure the composer, the late Harry Nilsson smiled when he heard this interpretation of his tune. This starts quietly, but with a lot of power. At first, Susan Tedeshi’s voice is clear and perfect, but as the second verse begins, we get a hint of what is to be. She wails through the third verse and choruses like nobody since Janis. That’s right…since JANIS! Her voice is all gravel and grit at times, raspy and honey at others. Tedeshi has vaulted into the stratosphere on this CD, stepping onto the podium with Bonnie, Annie and…well, no one else I can name besides the aforementioned Janis.
The music’s appeal is massive and consistent. I recommend when you get this CD to set aside an hour and a half to do so, because you’re not going to want to stop it, interrupt it or anything until it’s done. The second song, “Midnight in Harlem” is a soulful grinder that begins with a beautiful, melodically dissonant slide guitar intro by Derek. His solo after the third verse reminds us, with all these great musicians in attendance, Derek is the virtuoso around which the band is drawn. Susan’s vocal is inspiring and spine chilling….this is simply a stunningly beautiful piece of music. “Learn How to Love” just rocks the blues…another tasteful guitar opening, then the wondrous voice of Tedeshi chimes in and makes you feel her intent and determination. Good god, this is just amazing tune after amazing tune. As if you needed to be reminded of the quality of the musicians in the band, Kebbi Williams’ sax solo hits a very sweet groove, then blasts away through the chord progression, ending as Trucks trades guitar licks with his wife…Derek the more masterful, but Tedeshi’s raw and powerful playing keeps up, the exchange sending chills up this old blues lover’s spine. When her vocal returns, it’s no less powerful or raspy. I might be in love…
And on it goes; track after track…”Everybody’s Talkin’” is as good a CD/Album release as I’ve heard this century…and perhaps a few decades before as well. Other highlights include a version of John Sebastian’s (The Lovin’ Spoonful) “Darlin’ Be Home Soon”, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight” that’s even more soulful than Stevie’s and a version of Bill Wither’s “When I’m Kissing My Love” tucked thoughtfully into the later stages of “Love Has Something Else to Say” which showcases background vocalist Mike Mattison exceptional talent as a lead vocalist. This band is stacked with gifted musicians from top to bottom…and they have obviously been bound together by a similar inspiration, because to make music at this level, a band requires a basic commonality of both the goal and the pathway that will achieve it.
I’m giving this ultimately refreshing and exquisite new release the VERY rare rating of 4 Floggers (Out of four)
- DocRock - AKA VanHelsing
For your own benefit, watch this video