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Songlines

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 21, 2006
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SONGLINES is the first new recording by the Derek Trucks Band in nearly four years and the first studio album to feature the full-throated, impassioned vocals of newest DTB arrival at a spiritual plateau after a decade-long journey of musical discovery, and cements Trucks' reputation as one of the greatest guitarist of his generation.

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Just in his mid-twenties when this album was released in early 2006, the guitar tone of Allman Brothers Band guitarist Derek Trucks (nephew of founding drummer Butch) has become one of the most recognizable sounds to be squeezed out of the instrument. Snake-like, swampy, and filled with tense soul, his slide work has been compared to Ry Cooder's, and perhaps inevitably, to Duane Allman's. On his first album of new studio material in four years, Trucks steers his malleable band through a heady blend of jazz, Jamaican, gospel, blues, and world music, occasionally even combining styles in a single track. Any disc that covers deep soul man O.V. Wright, Pakistani music legend Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and reggae journeyman Toots Hibbert can't help but swim in eclectic waters. But Trucks pulls it all together with a sure sense of flow and arrangements that never let the tunes descend into free fall.

Soul singer and newest band member Mike Mattison acquits himself admirably, bringing a tough gospel edge to "I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel to Be Free)," an airy, ethereal quality to the floating "This Sky," and gruff spirit to the original rocker "Revolution." Although there are plenty of solos, Trucks's structured approach never lets the tunes sink into aimless jams, navigating his lines around the verses rather than vice versa. As classy and controlled as his rather stoic stage presence, Songlines confirms Derek Trucks's status as one of music's most innovative, fearless and affecting guitar players, regardless of age. --Hal Horowitz
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 21, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: February 21, 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 54 minutes
  • ASIN: B000E1JOQ6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,267 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By J. Chasin on February 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Derek Trucks is one of the two or three most distinct and recognizable instrumental voices in popular music today. He's like Carlos Santana, in that he can toss in a 2-note lick and instantly you know its him.

This record is truly a "band" record. That might disappoint some, who were hoping to hear the songs as vehicles for Derek's extended shredding. Instead, the song is king, and Trucks uses his Jedi guitar is the service of the song.

Using Santana as a reference point, that makes this record more like Supernatural than Borboletta. Its easy to listen to, easy for the casual fan to get his or her ear around. "Revolution," for example, is as close to a radio-friendly single as Trucks has ever come. Yet the record is steeped in spirituality, in the healing power of music, and ulitimately the distinctions between the song and the jam seem to melt away into the sea of musical redemption.

The percussive work of Count M'Butu, enmeshed with drummer Yonrico Scott, gives the whole record a unified feel, a sort of World Music, African shimmy that ties together the middle-eastern-flavored numbers (the extended set piece, "Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni"), the straight blues ("Crow Jane"), the R'n'B ("I Wish I Knew"), and the rockers ("Revolution.") The music hops genres, but the essential underpinning-- what the Aborigines thought of as "the labarynth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia"-- is the deep network of "Songlines" that tie all the music together and lead to the heart. Trucks and company weave a magical web that revels in the interconnectedness of all things by embracing different musical forms and faces, connected at the root by these ancient, mystical songlines.
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Format: Audio CD
It doesn't matter what is released the rest of the year. Unless someone makes the new Layla or Exile on Main Street, this is the best record of 2006. It finds Derek Trucks at the peak of his powers as a guitarist and shows that he is mastering a new instrument-the studio. Songs that are exended in live performance are shortened significantly, leaving the listener wanting more. While the record may disappoint those who evaluate a record by the length of the jams, those who appreciate an artist with a mature vision will love this record.

Songlines is the most accomplished and accessible of Trucks projects to date. It begins with an understated take on Rahssan Roland Kirk's Volunteered Slavery. Where the live version is a high octane romp, with a feeling much like Peter Green's "O Well", this one is subtle, almost subversive. It sets a tone for the record. Instead of pushing the edges of emotion, Trucks chooses his points to burn-thus emphasizing them.

The second tune I'll Find my Way introduces vocalist Mike Mattison . Mattison can move from soul shouter to the gentle falsetto of a soul man with the dexterity of the late Curtis Mayfield. Arguably this disc features Mattison as forcefully as it does Trucks. On tunes like Chrvrolet, Sailing On and Crow Jane, Mattison shines.

Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni and Mahjoun throw an eastern curve to the record. I suspect the late Mike Bloomfield is smiling somewhere, seeing the East/West fusion coming together in Derek Trucks music. Revolution is the most commercially accessible record this band has done and in better times would be a monster single.

The highlight of the record is the closer, This Sky.
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Format: Audio CD
Derek Trucks is truely a incredible guitarist who is in his prime. His slide playing has been compared to such greats as Duane Allman. Songlines is by far his best album I think for any derek trucks fan. He blends alot of creativity in songlines and it is easy to see why not just he is so great but the band as well. Todd Smallie(bass), Yonrico Scott(drums, percussion), Kofi Burbridge(Keyboards), Mike Mattison(Vocals), Count M'Butu(Congas). The entire band comes from different parts of the world and blends their musical influences together to create something much stronger than any average band. Songlines will take you on a musical journey from the getgo. This entire album is strong. I have seen derek a couple of times and as of now he is right on top with the other greats (in his prime). He has a real passion for the guitar which is obvious, it shows how expanded he has gotten since his first debut album Derek Trucks. My personal favorites are Crow Jane, I Wish I Knew, Sailing On, and All I Do. Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni is a strong jam that is not a lost jam. Derek keeps the focus on his band on songlines, not so much on guitar.... which shows how mature he is as a guitarist. Chevrolet is a strong song with dobro guitar supposly the guitar he plays on this song was supposedly owned by Bukka White a true slide legend. Inside this booklet their are pictures of the band, derek's son, and father. Just as it says in the back page of the booklet. Music (...) is a memory bank for finding one's way about the world. Im truely inspired. Highly Recommended!!
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