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Exclusive Q&A with the Tedeschi Trucks Band

Grammy-award winning southern rock and soul band, Tedeschi Truck play the Ryman March 3-5, and we chatted with Derek Trucks about the tour and new album, Let Me Get By.

Written By:  Luke Levenson

Photographers:  The Tennessean

Fans of Tedeschi Trucks Band have no reason to be short on pride. Since its first manifestation as Soul Stew Revival in 2007, leading husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have received critical acclaim across the globe. When the group officially launched in 2010, even more attention surged and paved the way for their Grammy-award winning debut album Revelator, which solidified their sound of southern rock and soul-nuanced grooves with raw, bluesy intonations. Two studio albums later, the Tedeschi Truck wheels are still turning... they play Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, March 3-5, with four nearly sold out shows in support of their latest, Let Me Get By. We caught up with Derek Trucks to find out more about the band’s Nashville performances and new album.


Nashville Lifestyles (NL): You’re playing at the Ryman for three nights, four performances — how do you keep each one interesting both for you as musicians and for the audience?
 
Derek Trucks (DT): There’s a lot of different tunes to pull from. There’s multiple records now with this band, and there are records that we did with our solo groups. There’s also a ton of covers that we’ve done over the years. You know, when we’re doing a three night run at a place like the Ryman or the Beacon Theatre in New York, we think about that stuff pretty far in advance. We write down the forty, fifty, or sixty tunes we want to play over the course of three days and we try to pace them so that every show there’s enough meat on the bone.



NL: In 2010, you [and wife Susan] put aside your personal groups/successful solo gigs to form Tedeschi Trucks Band. Can you talk about what led you to make this one your main priority?

DT: Personally, I was just ready for a change. I was actively trying to step away from the Allman Brothers that same year. But, you know, I have a long, crazy history with with them, and a lot of family history and stuff, and all that was tied to it. It wasn’t as clean as putting in your two week notice! But I was ready to shake it up and do something else, so I asked Susan if she was into doing the same and we talked about it for a while and she was willing to try something new.

My ticket from the beginning was, “If we’re going to do something like this, we need to really put all our available energy into it. We can’t just do it, and if it’s not working the first few months we have your old groups to fall back on.” I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a huge safety net there.


 
NL: A lot of the lyrics in Let Me Get By are about breaking free and letting go of your worries. Where did these ideas come from?

DT: I think with every record you write what you know, or what you’re going through, or what your headspace is. For me, stepping away from the fifteen years I spent with the institute of the Allman Brothers had a big effect, and so did stepping away from a major label, and so did stepping away from a lot of the crap that was going on in the world and the news cycle at that time. It’s been a pretty crazy few years on planet earth. When you start writing, it’s just kind of what’s in the air. You’re writing either things you’ve held onto for a long time, or things that are right in your face!


 

NL: What are your thoughts on blues music in our current generation and who (besides you guys) are carrying it forward?

DT: It’s tough to know what’s what with all these labels in music. I know that I’m a massive blues and roots fan, but when I think about Son House, or Robert Johnson, or Bukka White or even the later guys, I realize that it was such a different world. Those guys led such a different life and it’s hard to think of what we’re doing as being one in the same.

Blues today is certainly heavily influenced by it, and I think in some ways this band is carrying on the musical spirit, but anything that gets younger people interested in it is a positive. I think The Wood Brothers write amazing songs and they’re pushing blues music forward, and I think The London Souls are doing the same. But you know, that’s because they dug deep and wrote what they knew. So many artists today just become a disciple of one artist from the past and try and photocopy them, but there’s more to the story, it goes further back than Stevie Ray Vaughan! And I love him, but you’ve gotta’ keep going back to where the blues came from if you want to make it good.



NL: What do you do in your free time while in Nashville?

DT: We’re always looking for a good record store. We’re always looking for a good night hang, and good food. This band, I mean we just eat and drink our way through the world! We also have some good friends who live in Nashville, like The Wood Brothers, so there’s probably a lot of reconnecting. We’ve done a record or two there with Jay Joyce at his place, so maybe we’ll try to track him down…

 

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