Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi's Soul Stew Revival
Since soul singer Susan Tedeschi and blues guitarist Derek Trucks got married in 2001, fans have been listening closely as if to quiet ticking of untapped musical dynamite, waiting to see when and how it would finally explode.
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi's Soul Stew RevivalCity: San Francisco, CA
Venue: The Fillmore
Blues fans have been awaiting a collaboration between soul singer Susan Tedeschi and blues guitarist Derek Trucks ever since the pair got married in 2001. Each possesses a beautifully honed talent, and, upon hearing of their plans to hit the road together, fans of each have begun to detect the quiet ticking of pure musical dynamite. Derek Trucks is a blues version of the NBA’s Lebron James -- a slide-guitar prodigy who plays like the legendary Duane Allman. Trucks, now 28, was already sitting in with the Allman Brothers in his teens (he’s the nephew of the band’s longtime drummer, Butch Trucks), and he joined the group in 1999 at the tender age of 20. That same year, he bailed out Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, stepping in as a last-minute replacement guitarist for the legend’s fall tour. Tedeschi, 36, was already a rising blues star in her own right when she met Trucks in 1999. Her vocals contain a bluesy soul that your average American Idol contender can only dream of possessing. Together at last and on tour, Trucks and Tedeschi hit the Fillmore with a group of superb musicians: Trucks’ band, Tedeschi’s saxophonist, and (an up-and-comer in his own right) Trucks’ 18-year-old brother, Duane, on the second drum kit. From the moment the band hit the stage and Tedeschi sang her first note, it was apparent that this collaboration has something special going on. Tedeschi commanded the stage from the get-go with down-to-earth beauty and charisma, while Trucks’ incendiary guitar playing got jaws dropping. While The Soul Stew Revival’s repertoire was primarily drawn from the artists’ individual catalogues, it also included a number of well-chosen blues classics. The band opened with “I Wish I Knew,” a mid-tempo showcase for Tedeschi’s smoky vocals that featured a flute solo by keyboardist Kofi Burbridge and great sax work by Ron Holloway. The band revved up by the end of the tune, as Trucks, bassist Todd Smallie, drummers Yonrico Scott and Duane Trucks, and percussionist Count M’Butu -- all synched from the start -- kicked things into high gear.
Tedeschi started the encore off with a solo version of Ray LaMontagne’s “Shelter.” The band came back for “Gonna Move.” It would have been a night to remember if they’d ended the show right there, but in a move to push the show ridiculously over the top, the band dipped back into the Eric Clapton/Duane Allman/Derek and the Dominoes bag with “Anyday” -- one of the great romantic rockers of all time. The Fillmore roof was raised yet again as the band jammed on and on. This was quite simply as good as blues rock gets in 2007. The hooting and hollering between songs was reminiscent of past Fillmore shows by blues legends like Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker -- a testament to the true talent and authenticity possessed by both Trucks and Tedeschi. If your soul isn’t revived by this band, either you’re not really into the blues, or it’s time to check your pulse.