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Derek Trucks Band Roadsongs (Masterworks/Sony)

You might have caught Trucks

with his wife Susan Tedeschi – herself a consummate blues stalwart – at Bluesfest this year. Didn’t make the show but I suspect it was a slide guitarist’s dream. After all, Trucks has been a fantastic guitarist since he formed his own band while in his mid-teens, and Tedeschi is no slouch herself. This double live album recorded over

two April nights in Chicago can almost be seen as a parting gift to his legion of fans, at least for a while. Word has it the band will take a year-long break so Trucks can continue to perform with the Allman Brothers Band (still going after 30 some years) since he’s now an official member – playing alongside his uncle Butch, no less! – touring with his wife, and a few other side projects. And it’s quite the album, especially if blues-based rock with splashes of reggae, jazz and world music is your bag. Roadsongs covers much of the band’s

career, and at the Park West Theatre (where they also recorded a concert DVD), they’re in top form. The band takes its lead from Trucks’ slide/guitar work but they are all polished and obviously comfortable. Flute, horns and percussion add to the melting pot of sounds and styles. The band lopes along easily and smoothly, sounding eerily like the Allman Brothers one minute; at other times like an improvised jazz fusion jam (though I have to say Afro Blue is overly- long at 14-plus minutes and for me the least appealing track on the album). It’s apparent these guys have a great groove through years of touring, and all in all both discs are rock solid. Trucks’ solos and guitar playing are the perfect compliment to lead vocalist Mike Mattison’s relative growl and the rest of the band is always tight behind them. Standout originals include Get What

You Deserve, Down Don’t Bother Me, the alternatively fiery and funky Don’t Miss Me and Already Free, featuring stunning, restrained guitar brilliance. The covers run the gamut – from the New Orleans funk of Allen Toussaint’s Get Out of My Life Woman effortlessly sliding into Hendrix’ Who Knows, through Marley’s Rastaman Chant and Dylan’s Down in the Flood to a ripping version of Derek and the Domino’s Anyday – but always the band shapes them with their own distinctive take. Collectively, Roadsongs is what a present should be: given from the heart, with soul, feeling and a ton of pleasure for the lucky recipient.

Pick up a copy. Better yet - get it as a gift. OOO ½ out of five BOUNDER MAGAZINE 9

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