Rock and roll circus

Tedeschi Trucks Band Wheels of Soul tour with old friends at Rose

By Rusty Pate

Photo: Tedeschi Trucks Band will play Rose Music Center on June 27 as part of the Wheels of Soul tour; photo: Mark Seliger

The husband and wife team of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi have won Grammy Awards, critical praise and a devoted following after shelving their former bands and joining forces back in 2010 as Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Trucks began playing professionally as a pre-teen, sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan and Stephen Stills. He would eventually join the Allman Brothers Band and release nine albums with his own group Derek Trucks Band before forming this current 11-piece.

Long considered a live tour de force, TTB will spend another summer on the road, but this time they’ve brought along some friends—actually, a whole lot of friends.

The Wheels of Soul tour also features Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and Doyle Bramhall II. Jones has long been hailed as one of the most energetic and authentic performers in the modern scene. Her soul revue format features a furiously tight band that also numbers in double digits.

“We’ve never had three trucks and this many tour busses,” Trucks says. “I think it’s 50-something people with bands and crew, which is twice the undertaking that we’ve ever went out with. It’s a bit of a tightrope we’re walking, but it’s exciting. The music is certainly inspired.”

Bramhall, like Trucks, has a storied musical history that began when he was young.

His father played with Stevie Ray Vaughan in that guitarist’s formative years, helping write songs such as “Dirty Pool” and “Life By The Drop.” The younger Bramhall has also established himself as a respected guitarist and singer/songwriter. He and Trucks toured as part of Eric Clapton’s band in 2013.

It is a heavy-hitting lineup that Trucks said would be just the type of show he would want to see as a fan—which was kind of the whole point.

“That was kind of why we put it together,” Trucks said. “We were talking about it, me and Susan, ‘let’s put people that we want to hang out with and watch every day if we’re going to be on the road all summer.’”

The tour comes at a high point for TTB. The group has been working on a new album in its home studio. While the sessions originally started as little more than rehearsals for some late 2014/early 2015 gigs, musical ideas began to pile up quickly. Songs formed, were recorded and they had the makings of a new album before they could think about it.

He estimates that they are about 90-95 percent done with tracking with touch ups and mixing likely to come during a break in August. He’s hoping the album will be released in early 2016.

The songwriting process this time around differed a bit. In the past, he and his wife would write with other people and bring full songs to the band. However, working in this loose environment allowed contributions from the group.

“I feel really good about the record,” Trucks says. “I think it captures the personality of the band and all the individuals in the band differently than anything we’ve ever done. It feels like hanging out with the band.”

While the group has always hashed out arrangements and allowed the individual players to carve out their own parts, collaborating on the structure of the tunes ups the ante.

That ownership breeds excitement. However, while they are working in a couple tracks to the set, Trucks wants to pump the brakes on showing too much.

“We’re at that stage where we want to play all the songs from the record,” Trucks says. “But when the record comes out, you want there to be some surprises for people. The challenge is kind of pulling the reins back on the band because there [are] two or three that everybody’s champing at the bit to play and I feel some of the grooves and ideas sneak into the songs that we’re playing now. It’s fun though. It’s good to be excited about something like that.”

That kind of giving musical environment requires a true lack of ego and putting “the song” or “the part” above “my song” or “my part.” That is perhaps best shown by vocalist Mike Mattison.

Mattison sang lead vocals for the Derek Trucks Band. When Tedeschi came into the fold, Mattison didn’t see it as a demotion.

“When we started talking about putting this together, I mentioned to Mike that we might want to have a small background section,” Trucks says. “He’s such a great guy and team player, I think he really jumped at the idea of doing that.”

That kind of sacrifice and song-first mentality allows the unit as a whole to surpass the already substantial sum of its parts. They’ve learned to fold this large unit together in such a way that leaves pockets for exploration and truly magical experiences.

“Those are amazing moments,” Trucks says. “When you can see the horn players whispering parts in each other’s ears and the singers are doing the same then all of a sudden this thing happens and everyone on stage is like ‘holy shit! Where did that come from?’”

The Wheels of Soul tour, featuring Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings and Doyle Bramhall II will take place on Saturday, June 27 at Rose Music Center, 6800 Executive Blvd in Huber Heights. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. Reserved pavilion seating prices range from $48-78. For more information, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at

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Rusty Pate
Reach DCP freelance writer Rusty Pate at

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