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Made Up Mind Is Their Best Yet.
on August 20, 2013
For their third recording, the Tedeschi Trucks Band have developed a sound all their own that only comes from musicians playing together as a true collective-everyone shares the same musical goal and the song is more important than the individual participants.
The band's 2011 release, "Revelator" was an introduction of the combined efforts of the Susan Tedeschi and Derek Truck's bands, at one time known as the Soul Stew revival. Songwriting was the key, and the band delivered with original, quality compositions.Last year's "Everybody's Talkin'" captured the group in jam band mode and every member-ELEVEN musicians-were featured on this double disc, especially Susan and Derek sharing guitar duties. "Made Up Mind" shows a band with more confidence, more comfortable as the leading contemporary soul/blues/rock band performing today.
The title track jumps out with Derek's driving guitar. Susan has shown unmatched growth as a lead vocalist over the years. When she started out, comparisons were made to Bonnie Raitt. This is a good thing, of course, but Susan has been showing her early start with Gospel. As a child, she attended African-American Baptist churches and sang in the Gospel choir at the Berklee College of Music. You can't help but BELIEVE her when she sings "sure as the moon and the stars gonna rise, I've got a made up mind".
"Idle Wind" is quite a departure for the group. Susan again is featured with a beautiful vocal, but the interplay between Derek's slide and Kofi Burbridge's flute is unexpected-and engaging. Burbridge is also featured on clavinet and B3 on "Misunderstood", while the dual drums of J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell drive the band. The horn section of Kebbie Williams/saxophone, Maurice Brown/trumpet and Saunders Sermons/trombone elevate the vocals of Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers. Trombonist Sermons is also a superb vocalist and duets with Susan on "Part Of Me".
The TTB has to feature some jamming, so we're treated to Susan and Derek burning it up on "Whiskey Legs". The feel good vibe from this tune abruptly changes with "It's So Heavy". Although a somber tune, the playing is lovely, especially Susan's pleading vocal enhanced by Derek's guitar.
"The Storm" is a work out for Derek and Kofi Burbridge on B3 (clever wordplay on this number at its conclusion). Bassist Oteil Burbridge, younger brother of Kofi was a founding member of TTB (as well as a member of the Allman Brothers Band); he left the band in October 2012 for family reasons. Four bass players were recruited for this project, and half of the tracks feature Pino Palladino, one of the premier in-demand players today (check out his sublime bass on "The Storm" as well as "Made Up Mind" and "Heavy".
The last track is the sparse, acoustic "Calling Out To You". Derek plays a soft slide and very gentle chords while Susan puts down one of her best vocals on record. This track, more than anything the two have recorded before, sums up what they're all about. These are two like-minded musicians who have managed to live happily in private AND in the spotlight, raise children, make great music and welcome their fans to enjoy the ride with them. "You got to do right by your woman and she'll do right by you." Ain't it the truth.