[Slowhand] DT Interview on BluesWax Ezine

John Mills turbineltd at btconnect.com
Thu Sep 6 10:58:00 EDT 2007

Issue: September 6th. 2007

BluesWax Sittin' In With Derek Trucks

By Bob Putignano

Derek Trucks

The extremely gifted and multi-genre guitarist Derek Trucks is the nephew of
the Allman Brothers' drummer Butch Trucks. Derek Trucks plays a commanding
slide guitar that bears some similarity to the late great Duane Allman, plus
much more, as Trucks and his cohorts cover a wide range of styles from
progressive Blues and funky Soul to classic Rock plus a dose of deep rooted
Jazz. It is obvious that Trucks draws from Blues players like Elmore James
and Duane Allman, who have both been heavy influences on Trucks' slide
guitar playing, as have (non-guitar playing) Jazz players like Rahsaan
Roland Kirk and John Coltrane, plus the funky Soul cats like King Curtis and
Curtis Mayfield.

Trucks has been on the road (escorted by his dad) since he was nine years
old and shared stages and sat in with Blues and Blues Rock greats like Buddy
Guy and the Allman Brothers Band by the time he was twelve. Trucks began his
professional career playing with Blues bands around his hometown of
Jacksonville, Florida, and formed his own group while he was in high school.
Prior to his twentieth birthday, Trucks could be found jamming with the
likes of Stephen Stills, Joe Walsh, and Bob Dylan.

The Derek Trucks Band members range in age from their twenties to their
forties and released their self-titled debut album in 1997 on Landslide
Records. Out of the Madness was next in late 1998. Since that time they have
released Joyful Noise (2002), Soul Serenade (2003), Live at Georgia Theatre
(2004), and Songlines (2006), all of which show continued growth in his
performance and dynamic guitar explorations with incredible musicianship.
Trucks has plans to record a new CD in the fall of 2007, with a potential
release forthcoming in the early to middle of 2008. Rarely have we seen a
new talent develop so quickly and consistently. The future looks extremely
bright for a still-young Trucks (who just turned twenty-eight). Trucks
exemplifies a "no boundaries" approach in his selection of material,
songwriting, and his very impressive guitar playing. I am certain that
touring with both Eric Clapton and the Allman Brothers Band have accelerated
his playing abilities, but one must not take away from his insatiable inner
quest to seek out and learn from a wide array of musicians and their music,
as during previous conversations with Trucks, I cannot believe the depth of
his knowledge of players of a multitude of genres from both current and past

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Trucks at the Montreal Jazz
Festival on the Fourth of July (2007), after his soundcheck, for his
following performance at the Spectrum Theater, which was part of the many
goings on during the twenty-eighth edition of Festival International de Jazz
de Montreal.

Bob Putignano for BluesWax: Hi, Derek, how are you doing, is this your first
time in Montreal?

Derek Trucks: No, but it's been about twelve years now, we used to do a lot
of runs in Canada when I was between nine and thirteen years old, so it's
been a while.

BW: You have been on the road a long time for a young guy.

DT: Come to think of it, I have not been in Montreal for more than twelve
years now. So to answer your current question, I am twenty-eight now, so
it's been eighteen years that I have been touring now, which is pretty

BW: Eighteen years! Wow! It is pretty wild considering your age, but a lot
of things have gone well for you and you have accomplished a lot.

DT: This has been a busy year already.

BW: But not as busy as last year?

DT: No, but real close and it's only the beginning of July.

BW: Is there more focus on your band this year?

DT: I want to focus more on my band, but the first half of the year was the
Clapton tour, which ended in April. Then the Beacon [Theater in New York
City] run with the Allman Brothers, which was great. And the New York City
Beacon/Allman run went into April because of the Clapton tour. Then we did
the Soul Stew tour with my wife Susan [Tedeschi], which was a lot of fun.

BW: I heard you did some work on an upcoming Telarc disk by McCoy Tyner?

DT: I did two tracks with Ron Carter, Jack DeJohnette, and McCoy, which was
a lot of fun. That should be coming out soon I would guess, plus I think
Bela Fleck is on it, as well as Marc Ribot and John Scofield. So it's a
pretty nice lineup.

BW: That is nice company you are keeping with all those strong guitarists,
plus McCoy, Ron Carter, and DeJohnette.

DT: Yeah, I would go guitar tech to get a glimpse of what was going on
during the recording sessions of McCoy's CD. It was very cool for me to be a
part of it. I was really honored that they asked me to play on it.

BW: What are your plans for your band for the rest of the year?

DT: We have a pretty busy year, we are doing the Clapton Crossroads Festival
later this month, where I am playing with my band and then I am playing in
Eric's band, which will be really nice. Then we are running pretty hard as
we are going over to Japan and Europe and Hawaii on the way home, so a lot
of overseas touring. I'm trying to get a new record in, too.

BW: I was just going to ask you about your next recording.

DT: We are going to use the month of September to record, write, and
rehearse. There are a lot of ideas floating around for what we want to do on
the next disk, so I am excited to get working on the next CD.

BW: Your vocalist Mike Mattison has been on my radio show several times and
when he was on with me during March madness with the Allman's he told me
that you all have had a lot of incredible material that you want to put down
on record.

DT: That is correct. It's just a matter of the right time, the right
producer, the right room, and hopefully getting everything lined up, so we
will get it together.

BW: With everything you are working on, how do you find time to continue to
stay creative and focused?

DT: It is difficult at times and can be a balancing act, because I am still
touring with the Allman Brothers, so I am balancing multiple bands, plus I
have two kids now, my son is starting kindergarten this year and I have to
free up some time so my wife can go out and do her thing, too.

BW: Are you going to be a stay at home daddy?

DT: I will be doing more of that next year, as I kind of owe it to Susan, as
last year and this year have been so busy, so I have to give her some time
to roam and do her thing.

BW: Keep the balance going!

DT: Yeah man, it's a delicate balance.

BW: I will definitely be looking forward to the new recording as well as
tonight's performance.

DT: Thanks, we will keep it rolling no doubt.

BW: Derek, keep on doing what you are doing, as a lot of people are digging
what you are laying down in all of the genres you cover, so keep on rocking
and mixing it up like you do.

DT: Thanks Bob, we are going to try to continue to do what we feel is right
for our band and for our very much appreciated fans.

For my ears, Derek Tucks has to be one of the most fascinating musicians to
come on the music scene for quite some time. Best of all, his music is
Blues-based. So keep an open ear to see what the future holds for a
still-quite-young Derek Trucks.

Bob Putignano is a contributing editor at BluesWax. You may contact Bob at
blueswax at visnat.com.

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