Derek Trucks said his band can turn almost any situation into a party. He even provided a few scenarios during a recent phone interview from his Florida home/studio.
Not every gig is as conducive to throwing down as the recent Blues Cruise the band embarked on.
Trucks said the trip headed to Puerto Rico and included fellow artists and a ship full of fans.
The tour has been back on dry land for a few weeks and will stop Friday in Harrisburg for one of the band's last concerts of the year. Things are different now than the days Trucks, an Allman Brothers Band alum, took his guitar chops on the road with a few musicians.
In 2010, he teamed up with his wife and roots musician, Susan Tedeschi, to handcraft a large, high-energy blues outfit. It's been in demand ever since. Show and festival dates for 2013 are pouring in.
One includes the inaugural Sunshine Blues Festival slated for January around Trucks' Sunshine State stomping grounds.
"We're kind of experimenting with this festival," he said of the traveling show. "We put a handful of our favorite bands on the road. At some point, we'd like to do it nationally."
Trucks said he'd like to create something like an updated H.O.A.R.D.E. Tour - a popular 1990s festival. He's a big fan of many of the other Sunshine Blues Festival performers, including The Wood Brothers.
The party doesn't stop just because the band will take the rest of the year off to record its next record.
Trucks said the members have been spending a lot of time cutting demos and writing with friends, including Eric Krasno of Soulive, Gary Louris from the Jayhawks, Taj Mahal and John Leventhal.
The album's director and theme is never something that's set in stone.
"We'll take a few weeks and take a hard listen," he said. "Once the band gets into the studio and sinks its teeth in, that's when you know where it's going to go."
That, he added, helps
separate the song from the sound.
"One of the benefits or drawbacks (of being with the band) is that you can make terrible songs sound decent," he said.
Since Trucks and Tedeschi built a studio about 100 yards from their house, recording will be grand central for band members and collaborators. Trucks said that it's a fun time for everyone, including his kids, who are 10 and 8.
"We'll be cooking out," he added. "It's a monthlong barbecue. This is the biggest break we'll have all year. We're at home. I'll take it."
The Tedeschi Trucks Band earned critical raves and awards, including a Grammy for its debut, off the bat. It earned premiere festival slots playing with the likes of B.B. King and Eric Clapton. It wasn't alien to Trucks or Tedeschi, who both had successful solo careers.
Trucks was practically born with a guitar in his hands. By 9, he was on stage. In 1999, he began touring with the Allman Brothers Band. It's how he met Tedeschi and, this year, became one of the youngest recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. While it's fun to celebrate, Trucks said he refuses to rest on his laurels.
"When your feet get firmly planted, you have to work that much harder," he said. "You never want to put a record out where you lower the bar. You have to be moving forward. You have to dig in for sure."
Becoming a parent and a member of a large ensemble have motivated Trucks.
"The responsibility changes," he said. "You don't want to let the whole thing down. It makes you keep your nose to the grind."
Trucks, who was raised on delta blues standards like Freddie King, hopes to breathe life into the genre without re-inventing the wheel. He likes to set the stage for people to connect through the music.
"I feel it's kind of always around," he said. "You run across so many people with so many different backgrounds. It's important to soak all of it up."
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
See the Tedeschi Trucks Band 8 p.m. Friday at The Forum, in the Capital Complex at Fifth and Walnut streets, Harrisburg. Charlie Mars will open the show, which is presented by the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts and Bill Rogers Entertainment. Tickets cost $32, $39 and $47. For details and tickets, call 717-214-ARTS or visit www.whitakercenter.org.
Tedeschi Trucks Band: www.tedeschitrucksband.com
Read more celebrity interviews:
Derek Trucks - Guitar
Susan Tedeschi - Guitar and vocals
Kofi Burbridge - Keyboard and flute
Tyler Greenwell - Percussion
J.J. Johnson - Percussion
Mike Mattison - Vocals
Mark Rivers - Vocals
Kebbi Williams - Saxophone
Maurice Brown - Trumpet
Saunders Sermons - Trom bone
George Porter Jr. - Bass