Husband and Wife-Duo, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Join the Robinson Brotherhood, The Black Crowes, For a Co-Headlining Tour Revival
by Julianne Cassidy
The Black Crowes make ends meet with Tedeschi Trucks Band. Roots. Blues. Some uninhibited Southern Rock ‘n Roll. “[This is] the earthiest tour, with its head in the most celestial places,” says Chris Robinson, co-founder of the Black Crowes.
Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Broadway-baby Susan Tedeschi married slide-guitar mastermind Derek Trucks in 2001 after meeting during a kismet Allman Brothers gig two years prior. Trucks, a Lifetime Achievement inductee and permanent member of the Allman Brothers, and multi-Grammy nominated Tedeschi, sidelined their self-titled solo bands, to wed the Tedeschi Trucks Band on March 7, 2011. “Derek [Trucks] is ten years younger than me, and when I’m 90, I just might want to retire,” says Tedeschi. But, for now, “this is the main focus for our band. Yet, at the same time, we do [continue] side projects.”
Trucks and Tedeschi harmoniously fused in their home-built studio, Swamp Raga. Now an 11-piece secret-weapon, the Tedeschi Trucks Band bred their powerhouse of a troupe’s telepathy, or their “ESP factor,” with a tenacious rotation cycle of musician friends. “There’s an intimacy between experience, as well as influences, as well as being really tight, and playing together with each other for a long time,” says Tedeschi. “Even though we’ve only had this band a couple of years, we’ve known each other for at least a decade or two. That goes a long way.”
August 1, 2010 marked their debut concert appearance together at the Savannah Music Festival. And June 7, 2011 celebrated their first Grammy. Funky-Folk dripping with ravenous electric-Blues, their inceptive Tedeschi Trucks Band debut, Revelator, won Best Blues Album at the esteemed 54th Grammy Awards.
In anxious anticipation of their second full-length record, Made Up Mind, under Sony Masterworks and co-produced by Jim Scott (Johnny Cash and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), Trucks and Tedeschi are currently on a rhythmic co-headlining Summer tour with rock veterans, The Black Crowes. The songwriting is raw, the music is “a little bit more rock-influenced,” and the band is “stretching out, and playing a little bit more,” in an uncharted, but welcomed artistic territory. “Everybody in this band is so talented, and having an actual horn section, and two amazing singers (on tour), is such a wonderful treat,” says Tedeschi. “Sky’s the limit musically now, there’s nothing really holding us back.”
From their 1989 multi-platinum, Shake Your Money Maker, to multi-band hiatuses, Chris and Rich Robinson are foreseeing a future for the Black Crowes as “the kind of being where we do it, when we feel like doing it,” says Chris. “We don’t have any plans past December. It’s just a typical Black Crowes world.” After a 20th Anniversary tour, and Croweology, no original music has been released since Before the Frost… Until the Frost. “We’re just kind of scratching our heads wondering why everyone’s getting along so well,” says Chris. “The Black Crowes have always run on emotion. That’s what the Black Crowes are, and the music is indicative of that.”
Once dubbed, “Best New American Band,” by Rolling Stone, the Robinsons are intoxicated by their latest band-prodigy, Jackie Greene. “Part of Jackie’s, not just his musicianship, but his presence, has been really important to the vibes that the Black Crowes have going on right now,” says Chris. “There’s a real guitar hero in there. He’s definitely our trophy wife.”
Recent tour stops have spontaneously blended both the Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Black Crowes onstage for insatiably rare encores. “It’s kind of hard to keep everybody off the stage, if there’s a jam, you know?” says Chris. “Both of our bands share a deep, deep respect for the language of music.” And in regards to prospective recording collaborations, “maybe they’ll [The Black Crowes] get inspired by going on tour with us, and we’ll do something together,” says Tedeschi.
From Eric Clapton, to Herbie Hancock, and President Obama, Trucks and Tedeschi are melodiously oozing with a myriad of legendary supporters. “That’s the great thing about music, it is colorless, and there are no borders,” says Tedeschi. “You go anywhere in the world, and you might not be able to talk to someone, but you can play music with them.”
Trucks. Tedeschi. Soul. To them, it’s all about the music. The Tedeschi Trucks Band and The Black Crowes are in Philadelphia, this Sunday, at the Mann Center. Made Up Mind is on sale August 20th.