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The Sound

Tedeschi Trucks Band


Husband-wife musicians bring tour to Ames on Jan. 22.

Photo by Ian Rawn

Everyone enjoys a twofer, when you can get two for the price of one. What’s special about this musical twofer is the incredible talent of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, which brings its tour to Stephens Auditorium in Ames on Jan. 22.

The husband-wife musicians, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, formed the band 10 years ago after successful solo ventures. Tedeschi, a blues, rock and roll artist, began singing and playing the guitar at age 13. Her husband, Derek, also a child prodigy, played guitar with the Allman Brothers Band, toured with Eric Clapton and appeared twice on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. Each has Grammy nominations and music awards, both as a solo and as a group.

CITYVIEW recently caught up with Trucks, who admits it has been a bittersweet year.

The band’s fourth studio album, “Signs” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Blues Album in 2019. On the same day the album was released, fellow bandmate Kofi Burbridge passed away. Trucks had played with Kofi for 20 years.

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“It was a great album, which ended up taking on a lot of significance after his death. It’s emotional to listen to the album, to hear him play. The album will occupy a certain place in our hearts for the rest of our lives,” he says.

The husband-wife duo, along with 10 other band members, honed their sound on the road.

“It’s been an incredible run. We tour hard. We’re more than a touring band; we’re a lifelong band and a family who have grown up together. Our ups and downs have brought us tighter and closer,” says Trucks.

Trucks started playing guitar professionally at age 11. He’s the nephew of Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman brothers, whom he played with for more than six years. He toured with Eric Clapton for one year.

“I was named after Derek & the Dominos (Clapton’s band). It was an incredible life-changing tour,” he says. “I’ve made some connections I don’t take for granted.”

Trucks plays the slide guitar, which can emulate the sound of a human voice. With no breaks in the notes, the tone and melody can draw out more emotion.

“It’s blues from the beginning. It’s the sound of a diddley bow or a wire from a broom handle. I use an old Coricidin bottle,” he says. “Electric slide is not mimed; it’s untouched ground, unchartered territory when I play it.”

Trucks says social media has changed the music industry.

“I appreciate that my first decade of playing music, there weren’t people posting and taking pics every time. If you write a new song, it’s on YouTube the next day,” he says. “Music doesn’t have time to grow like it used to.”

Trucks has played nearly every venue imaginable.

Regardless of audience size, it’s an honest connection with the fans and not a greatest hits show.

“You never phone it in. It’s church for us. You make a commitment, no matter what happens. You’re not bullshitting or pandering the audience. It’s a sacred experience,” he explains.

When the band arrives in Ames, its goal is to create something new.

“Our live concerts we can stretch out more and stay inspired,” he says. “We’re a crazy band of 12, lucky to be playing together and making real connections.” ♦

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