Revelator (Sony MASTERWORKS), the long-awaited, song-oriented debut album by the husband-wife team of singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitarist Derek Trucks, will be released June 7. Filled with smoky, blues-dipped rockers and heart-stilling ballads that show off, respectively, the gutsier and softer side of Tedeschi's vocal ability, plus a series of emotive, story-telling solos shaped by Trucks's uncanny agility on slide-guitar, Revelator also serves to introduce the couple's new, 11-piece ensemble-Tedeschi Trucks Band.
A dramatic leap forward for two of the music world's most dynamic performers, Revelator is a confident yet unforced triumph offering a cohesive vision: an idyllic, musical world in which the echoes of so many great traditions-Delta blues and Memphis soul, Sixties rock and Seventies funk-organically flow together, blending with an entirely original, modern sensibility.
In addition to the combined weight of Tedeschi and Trucks's equally renowned abilities, Revelator benefits from an impressive circle of talent that the two brought together. Trucks co-produced the album with multi-Grammy-winning engineer Jim Scott, whose genre-bending credits include popular albums by the Dixie Chicks, Johnny Cash, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Both Tedeschi and Trucks co-wrote the album's eleven new songs with an impressive list of experienced songwriters, including Jeff Trott, John Leventhal, David Ryan Harris and Sonya Kitchell; Gary Louris and Oliver Wood- of the Jayhawks and the Wood Brothers, respectively; and old friends like guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Eric Krasno
(of Soulive), and band members Mike Mattison, Kofi Burbridge
and Oteil Burbridge.
Most notably, Revelator features the newly formed Tedeschi Trucks Band, an eleven-member ensemble overflowing with talent and musical familiarity. Brothers Oteil Burbridge (noted for his years as bassist with the Allman Brothers Band) and Kofi Burbridge (longtime keyboardist/flutist with The Derek Trucks Band) have joined forces with a pair of drummers J. J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell, trumpeter Maurice Brown, tenor saxophonist Kebbi Williams, trombonist Saunders Sermons, and harmony singers Mark Rivers and Mike Mattison. (Additionally, Ryan Shaw and David Ryan Harris supplied harmony vocals to various tracks on the album, and Alam Khan adds his masterful sarod playing to "These Walls".) The fact that this aggregation includes so many musicians related by experience-and blood-clearly adds to the notion of Revelator as a true group album, the product of
a musical family.
Revelator and the Tedeschi Trucks Band are the result of a process that began in 2010 with the decision by the couple to place their careers as individual artists on hold, dismantle their own groups, and join musical forces. In many ways, it made sense: the two often performed together in each other's bands, and with the Allman Brothers Band (with whom Trucks continues to play as co-lead guitarist.) They also guested on each other's recordings and shared a musical sensibility best described as a swampy mix of rootsy, rockin' American music. Last year Trucks and Tedeschi both received individual Grammy nominations in the category of "Best Contemporary Blues Album" for their 2009 albums, Trucks for Already Free and Tedeschi for Back To The River. The Derek Trucks Band ultimately won the friendly "family feud" taking home the award but Tedeschi gladly shared the honor having sung lead vocals on the album track "Back Where I Started." Once they decided to make their collaboration official, a year of trying out various band lineups and songwriting partners followed. When producer Jim Scott entered the picture last fall, their vision shifted into high gear and the group began recording in Tedeschi and Trucks's fully equipped studio situated on their home property in Jacksonville, Florida.
With an eye on allowing the creative juices to flow naturally and unimpeded, they eventually wrote thirty songs, which were whittled down a final eleven tunes that delivered on the promise that was made when the two dedicated themselves to their common venture. From the raunch-and-drive of "Bound for Glory" and "Learn How to Love", to introspective, mood-setting performances like "Midnight in Harlem" and "Shelter", to the tuneful and uplifting messages of songs like "Don't Let Me Slide", Revelator offers a marked, feet-on-the-ground notion of modern reality ("These Walls" focuses on the simple idea of day-to-day survival in these harsh times) while marveling in the unasked-for joys that life often delivers (the refrain of "Simple Things" that sings of "life without sorrow, love without pain" could well be
the album's motto.)
"These songs are all life-adventure stuff," says Tedeschi, whose gospel-trained voice brings them all to life. "Whether soul-searching or love-searching, looking for shelter, or hope, or just a break. That's what's truly different about this album for Derek and myself. Rather than extended solos like he's done in the past, Revelator is about storytelling through songs-songs with nice musical structures, with beginnings, middles and ends, a lot of content that people can really dig into."
The album's focus on songs, according to Trucks, means all the more focus on his wife's voice. "I'm super-proud of the work that Susan's done on the record – at the end of the day it's her voice and she has to carry it. We really tried to catch different parts of her singing-not just the belting thing that she's known for, but the sweet side too. She's really laying it all out there."
Relative to her years leading her own group, Tedeschi admits to feeling "a lot less pressure because now I have the best guitar player in the world my band so I have a lot less responsibility on my guitar. I love playing with my husband and now I get to hear him every night.."
"In fact, there are so many new things happening on this album, it's hard to know where to start," adds Tedeschi excitedly, "Especially with this group. Everyone is an amazingly accomplished musician who is able to listen intensely and react with their own soulful music at the drop of a hat. It is an honor to be in this band."
Trucks echoes Tedeschi's sense of anticipation and pride in their new collective. "I'm really looking forward to hitting the road and letting things grow until each show feels like an event. It's nice having all these new songs but also having that looseness and spontaneity that comes with a great group of musicians. There are few bands that do that-hold on to that element of surprise. One moment could be a train wreck but the next, it's church."
Tedeschi Trucks Band plans to tour the U.S. and Europe on the heels of the release of Revelator, performing the music from the album as well as old favorites.
Revelator on Sony MASTERWORKS, the long-awaited, song-oriented debut album by the husband-wife team of singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitarist Derek Trucks, will be released June 7. Filled with smoky, blues-dipped rockers and heart-stilling ballads that show off, respectively, the gutsier and softer side of Tedeschi's vocal ability, plus a series of emotive, story-telling solos shaped by Trucks's uncanny agility on slide-guitar, Revelator also serves to introduce the couple's new, 11-piece ensemble-Tedeschi Trucks Band.
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