Tedeschi Trucks Band Bring It Home
Tedeschi Trucks Band Bring It Home
"Smell that?" says Derek Trucks. The ponytailed guitarist, 34, takes a freshly-pressed vinyl record and holds it up to his nose for a closer whiff. It's a Thursday evening in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Trucks is giddy as he strolls through his well-kept tour bus. Tedeschi Trucks Band – the 11-piece roots-and-blues collective he formed with his wife, Susan Tedeschi, in 2010 – are set to hit the stage in less than an hour. Adding to Trucks' excitement: Only weeks before, the band put the finishing touches on their second studio album, Made Up Mind (due out August 20th). That's the record he's inspecting, no, inhaling right now.
"Hey, ya'll!" Tedeschi's voice cuts through the air. The burnt-blond-haired singer-guitarist moves briskly up the stairs of the bus. Dressed in a form-fitting, flower-print dress, Tedeschi, 42, joins her all-male bandmates, takes a seat at a makeshift kitchen table and begins painting her nails. The bus is in full pre-gig swing now: Percussionists JJ Johnson and Tyler "Falcon" Greenwell are smacking away on electronic drums; trumpeter Maurice Brown adjusts his necktie; backup singers and members of the horn section, including Maurice Rivers and Saunders Sermons, have stepped outside for a smoke. And Trucks, well, he's in full concentration mode after putting down the vinyl, noodling away on his red Gibson Signature SG as a gnarly Albert King vocal blares overhead.
A few hours earlier, eating a sushi lunch with his family – which today includes himself, Tedeschi, son Charlie, 12, daughter Sophia, 9, and Trucks' mother, Debbie, all of whom have packed into the band's tour bus for the week with the kids out of school for the summer – Trucks is miles away from the stage. A slide-guitar prodigy by age nine, he joined the Allman Brothers Band with his uncle, Butch, in 1999, and was touring in Eric Clapton's band by his 13th birthday. But the fun-loving, football-obsessed Trucks doesn't seem the slightest bit jaded by his early fame. Having the whole family on the road, while admitedly a little chaotic, is a rare treat, he says. "With the age of our kids, I didn't want to miss out on as much," Trucks says. Having the kids around "actually makes us behave a little better," Tedeschi adds with a laugh.
Like Revelator, their 2010 Dixie-funk odyssey of a debut album, Made Up Mind was recorded at their Swamp Raga studios. A two-story, $400,000 recording and practice space behind Trucks and Tedeschi’s Jacksonville, Florida house – which includes a guest bedroom upstairs, where Johnson stayed often during the band's recent sessions – the home studio allows husband and wife to balance work and domestic life. "The upside for me is, it's awesome I still get to be mom," says Tedeschi. "I like to cook and clean and do laundry and kind of be a girl control-freak.”
"There's something nice about having a studio where it doesn't feel like work," adds Trucks. "Everyone just shows up and it's a hang. You're rehearsing in a place where you just turn the knob and now you're recording. Though," he adds with a chuckle, "we have to pull Susan back sometimes, 'cause she'll get into 'I have to make dinner for 18 people' mode."
Recording for the new album began late last October and lasted the better part of eight months. Seasoned songwriters and longtime Trucks confidants Doyle Bramhall II, Bobby Tis and Oliver and Chris Wood would fly in at various times to help work on the new songs. Producer Jim Scott, who's worked with the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty as well as helming Revelator, returned, too.