Derek & Susan: It's a Family Thing

By: Andy Tennille

Trucks & Tedeschi by Josh Mintz
It's Father's Day, a few hours before he's scheduled to take the stage at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California, and Derek Trucks is beat.

It's not that the 28-year-old legend-in-the-making was up partying after a sold-out show the night before at the Fillmore in San Francisco or that he's exhausted from the hours of rehearsing in near-90-degree heat during soundcheck at the winery this afternoon. No, Trucks' weariness stems from the presence of two new tour mates on the Soul Stew Revival Tour, a 12-date cross-country trek featuring a new ensemble comprised of Trucks' cohorts in the Derek Trucks Band, his wife Susan Tedeschi on vocals and guitar, sax man Ron Holloway and kid brother Duane Trucks on drums. The new tour mates causing the restless nights? Derek and Susan's two kids – Charlie, five, and Sophia, two.

"There's a lot less sleep," Trucks confesses with a warm laugh as the two young children run around the winery's small backstage. "But the kids are old enough now to be on the road and it's not a complete drain. It's a lot but it's great to have the family together. And they're okay with hanging out with other people while we're working."

Work on the Soul Stew Revival Tour – beyond keeping up with Charlie and Sophia - consists of playing around two-and-a-half hours a night of classic soul, r&b and rock covers from artists such as Aretha Franklin, Delaney & Bonnie, Derek and the Dominoes, Stevie Wonder, Ray LaMontagne and Bobby Bland, with a few Tedeschi and Trucks Band favorites thrown in for good measure.

Tedeschi & Trucks :: 06.17.07
Mountain Winery by Tennille
The Father's Day show at the Mountain Winery opened with a beautiful take on Bob Dylan's classic "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," a tune Tedeschi regularly sings when sitting in with her husband's other band, the Allman Brothers. Tedeschi stepped up to cover the Allmans' "Stand Back" off 1972's Eat A Peach as Trucks fell into his comfort zone trading solos with Ron Holloway on tenor. The band stretched Aaron Neville and Allen Toussaint's "Hercules" into a ten-minute-plus tour-de-force but it was the encore of The Band's "The Weight" – delivered like Aretha Franklin's version on her widely underrated 1970 album This Girl's in Love With You – that elicited the biggest cheer from the sold-out crowd and made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

JamBase caught up with Trucks and Tedeschi before the show to talk about the genesis of the Soul Stew Revival Tour, their introductions to soul music as kids and the importance of family in their lives.

JamBase: I guess the inspiration for this tour came from the New Year's shows that you've done together over the years. Can you tell me a little bit about that and how this tour got put together?

Trucks & Tedeschi :: NYE 2006 by Josh Mintz
Derek Trucks: We've been talking about doing this for years. Every time we've done New Year's together, it's gone really well and really re-emphasized that we wanted to do this. Between last year's Allmans tour, releasing a new album and touring with my group, doing a record and world tour with Clapton and then Susan's band, we kinda figured that if we were going to see each other at all we'd have to book a tour together. [laughs]. It's good timing, too. A lot of stuff is slowing down as far as the obligations that I have. So it was the first time it made sense, timing-wise, to do it.

JamBase: Tell me a little bit about your introductions to soul music?

Susan Tedeschi: Probably when my dad played me The Staples Singers. I remember that really well. I was probably about six years old. My mom also loved James Brown, so I remember hearing that a lot as a kid. We listened to some Sam Cooke, too.

Derek Trucks: I think it was always around both of our households. Ray Charles, Aretha, Stevie. I remember hearing all those records as far back as I can remember. So, it's been in my head since I was a kid.

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