The Derek Trucks Band

Sony Masterworks, 2010

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Derek Trucks may be young, but he has ascended to the rare stratosphere of the top guitarists in the world. He received his first paycheck at age 11, sat in with Buddy Guy at 12, and formed his own band at 15. At 24, Rolling Stone Magazine included him on their list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.

Today, he continues to record and tour with his own Derek Trucks Band. He has also been a member of the legendary Allman Brothers Band since 1999, which his uncle Butch Trucks helped found. He also has recently been touring with Eric Clapton as part of his backing band. Somehow in the middle of all this he managed to marry blues singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

During early April of 2010, he brought The Derek Trucks Band to Chicago for two days of live playing and recording. The result is the two discs, just under two hours long, Roadsongs.

Derek Trucks has never produced a bad studio album, but live, his playing takes on new power and produces exciting textures. He uses a song as a taking-off point for his improvisations and as such, every performance is different.

This latest live album catches him at his best and is a must for any fan of the blues or the guitar. While it is grounded in the blues, he stretches out to embrace rock, jazz, and even a little reggae.

It is an album that builds, as the first four songs find him becoming increasingly involved and the solos longer. By the time he reaches “Get What You Deserve,” he is at the top of his game as one of the best slide guitarists alive today.

Classics “Anyday,” “Down In The Flood,” and “Key To The Highway” all receive brilliant translations here. “Afro Blue,” at well over ten minutes, is a jazz piece in which he plays off the brass. The reggae-infused “Rastaman Chant” is funky and joyous.

Mike Mattison is the lead vocalist for the group and his gruff vocals are a good match for Trucks’ blues sound. Other group members are bassist Todd Smallie, drummer Yonrico Scott, keyboardist/flautist Kofi Burbridge, and percussionist Count M’Butu. In addition, there is a brass section made up by Mace Hibbard, Paul Garrett, and Kevin Hyde.

Roadsongs is one of the better live albums to be released during the last few years. It’s that good!

Rating: A-

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