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Tedeshi Trucks Band Live in PDX

Tedeshi Trucks Band Live in PDX… Nothing builds the excitement for an upcoming concert than the receipt of a recently released (May 22, 2012) CD beforehand. This was the case when the Grammy winning Tedeshi Trucks Band recently came to Portland, OR promoting their Live, Everybody’s Talkin’ CD.

With the show and CD release happening around the same time, I am going to take this opportunity to combine the CD and concert review together.

Let’s start with the CD. Everybody’s Talkin’ is a two CD set comprised of both original songs and some covers selected and recorded from a years worth of concerts worldwide plus one new track (“Nobody’s Free”). Four of these tunes are from their first and highly acclaimed CD, Revelator.

Sound wise, there is a prominent amount of Derek Trucks’ Slide Guitar blended with horns, drums, keys, bass and electric and acoustic guitar backing up the soulful, earthy lead vocals from Susan Tedeshi. The general feel is one of “Southern Rock/Classic Rock” with tones of Blues and Gospel in the Mix.

Here are the players in this powerhouse band:

Susan Tedeshi  / Vocals, Guitar

Derek Trucks / Guitar

Mike Mattison / Vocals

Mark Rivers / Vocals

Oteil Burbridge / Bass

Kofi Burbridge  / Keyboards

Tyler Greenwell / Drums. Percussion

J.J. Johnson / Drums, Percussion

Kebbi Williams / Saxophone

Maurice Brown / Trumpet

Saunders Sermons / Trombone

Lets talk about a few of the tracks of note.

You might recognize the title track, Everybody’s Talkin’, as an old Fred Neil song that Harry Nilsson made famous in 1969. This tune has been covered by over 100 other artists since then and this version is unique and probably my favorite.

Midnight in Harlem opens with an Indian sounding guitar solo (The Swamp Raga Intro) that can charm snakes into a trance. From that start we merge into a B-3 Hammond laced sweet tune. You really just need to listen to get the whole concept.

Bound for Glory  unleashes some of that deep Southern feel and gospel soul that makes you thirst for some Sweet Tea! A story progresses as the horns punctuate phrases; Juicy organ and funky bass work make this cut a musical playground.

Wade in the Water is a great old Sam Cooke tune that fits the Tedeshi Trucks Band like a glove. Serious vocals and soulful feel will make you want to stand and let the music move you.

By Now I am sure you are getting the idea about what great music you will experience on these CD’s but it is even better in person!

The whole concert experience is totally worth getting out to see. The dynamic energy of the band tied in with the sheer joy of performing is uplifting and revitalizing! Otiel specially caught my attention (Partly because of the Bass thing) but more so because of his enthusiasm and his focus on the music.

The selected basses played that evening were his trusty Fender four-string and an unusual bass banjo (His Six string was ready but spent most of it’s time on the rack.).

I know I have focused a lot on Oteil’s playing but the whole band is a finely tuned music machine. You can feel the camaraderie and mutual esteem from your seat.

Dual drum kits played in perfect sync driving the percussion engine in conjunction with that spot-on bass. The horn section delivers the harmony but also is quite entertaining to watch as they dance and kind of ham it up… but in a good way. Keep an eye on Maurice’s eyes and cheeks as there are times that it looks like he is going to pass out! On a couple of occasions, Saunders lends his voice to the vocal mix and is a standout on a few of the tunes.

The two supporting vocalists (Mike and Mark) have a quality that blends in nicely with Susan’s voice. Kofi rules on the keys and more so when he turns the Hammond B-3. You really get that ‘taking us to church’ kind of feel. Lastly, Derek is totally focused on that guitar and delivers a flawless lead while Susan contributes with some rhythm support but cuts loose with some respectable solo licks of her own (Along with leading the vocal charge).

Despite a couple of technical glitches that the band took in stride (we did have a break while they got the lead mic back on line and a pesky popping speaker bank that required a huge cable exchange), the entire show is superb and worth catching if it comes to a town near you. Check this link for their current tour dates…

So, see the show, get the CD’s and you won’t be disappointed with either one!

Well done Tedeshi Trucks Band!

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