Music

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Let Me Get By

Marrying the rural and the urban, the old and the new Tedeschi Trucks Band finds its groove and delivers a record filled with memorable songs and even more memorable grooves. Best listened to after midnight.


Tedeschi Trucks Band

Let Me Get By

Label: Fantasy
US Release Date: 2016-01-29
UK Release Date: 2016-01-29
Amazon
iTunes

The Tedeschi Trucks Band returns with its third studio album and first in three years and it’s finally the record that capitalizes on the promise this collective has had from the start. Produced by Derek Trucks alone for the first time, the material’s written in-house, and the band got down to business at its own studio. The result is a confident-sounding record never tries too hard and focuses on deep grooves with soulful lead vocals and lead guitar lines that at their best often seem gently torn from the heavens. This laid-back approach, not entirely dissimilar to the one heard on the best Black Crowes records or those that Chris Robinson has done with his Brotherhood, means that there’s no “don’t bore us, get to the chorus” approach; the tunes reveal themselves slowly as they would in jazz, blanketing the listener with a sweetness that some probably thought went out around the Ford administration.

And yet there’s still a strong song sensibility such as the Allman Brothers-tinged “Anyhow”, which opens the record and find Tedeschi channeling Gregg Allman in the tune’s opening moments while the rest of the clan works up a vibe that’s as good as anything Dickie, Duane and the boys ever got up to. Despite the undeniable connection to the Allmans, Susan Tedeschi and Trucks steer the music into fresher terrain, the former delivering one of her best vocal performances to date and the latter weaving magic here, there, and everywhere. Trucks is like Coltrane reborn with a guitar in his hand, a man gifted with an uncanny sense of melody, possessed by a kind of seeking that never lets him settle for anything less than the best. “Anyhow” also brings together two of the things the band does best: combine the beautiful colors of country and blues music with horns that are more influenced by the funky, the urban. It’s a rare meeting to be sure and one that serves that song well.

But the straight on funk of “Don’t Know What” is as dirty and lowdown as anyone could want and Tedeschi sounds fuller, more untethered than she has on past Tedeschi Trucks Band records, a singer who is equally at home performing a song that’s got mud on its knees and dirt under its fingers as she is the holy reaches of “Laugh About It”. While she and her husband continue to deliver the goods for the rest of the record, the band they lead also shines in a more favorable light than on past records. Kofi Burbidge’s deft keyboard touches are especially memorable on “Let Me Get By” as he casts us back several decades with a sound that is filled with both whimsy and soul; Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson anchor the rhythm section with solid drumming throughout and Tim Lefebvre knocks all kind of sense into the already sensible grooves throughout.

And the collective as a whole casts themselves back to the peak of rock ‘n’ soul from the Deep South with the eight-minute Philly soul of “Cryin’ Over You”, the sexy old style rave-up “I Want More”, and the closing “In Every Heart” which has a sad, mournful New Orleans-style intro that gives way to something more uplifting and something a little closer to, say Memphis. It, like so much of the record, seems destined to become a live favorite: Tedeschi as though this could be the last song she ever commits to tape and the band plays as though it’s been playing together since the beginning of time.

Past Tedeschi Trucks Band records had their charms and their high points but this is the record that gets everything right from the first note to the last and it’s a welcome progression from a band that deserves all the good things coming its way in the wake of this record.

A bonus disc with live tracks, early mixes and other, well, bonuses. But the main event is just as good as you could hope. Actually, better.

8

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Film

Subverting the Romcom: Mercedes Grower on Creating 'Brakes'

Julian Barratt and Oliver Maltman (courtesy Bulldog Film Distribution)

Brakes plunges straight into the brutal and absurd endings of the relationships of nine couples before travelling back to discover the moments of those first sparks of love.

The improvised dark comedy Brakes (2017), a self-described "anti-romcom", is the debut feature of comedienne and writer, director and actress Mercedes Grower. Awarded production completion funding from the BFI Film Fund, Grower now finds herself looking to the future as she develops her second feature film, alongside working with Laura Michalchyshyn from Sundance TV and Wren Arthur from Olive productions on her sitcom, Sailor.

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image