They're the oldest type of supergroup. Husband-wife team Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks have tightened the screws on their blues-rock for second album, Made Up Mind, loosening the caboose even as they sharpened their focus on song and melody over their 2011 Grammy-winning debut Revelator. The musical pair met when she opened for his band, the Allman Brothers, in '99. They've been together ever since.
We caught up with Tedeschi to learn how life can be easier with more hands on deck and what they plan to do as their Sony deal runs out.
Both you and your husband had separate careers together for more than a decade before Tedeschi Trucks Band. What did you sacrifice to make this happen?
There's sacrifice when it comes to a relationship in general. But I'd say it wasn't as much as sacrifice as just a change. And it's just a different project altogether so you just approach it differently.
But why now - what made this the moment?
I think in 2010 Derek was just ready for a change. He'd had the same band members since he was a kid. He'd never had band outside that band. And that was a great band, but he wanted to grow and do something different, and thought that it was a good time to do it. He asked if I wanted to do it also. It was also the timing. I'm not getting any younger. I figure well lets do it now while I can, so it was just really the timing was right.
Derek has never really been free to do anything between playing with Allman Brothers and [Eric] Clapton and his own band and us having two kids and me being busy with my group. So now it's possible that we can focus on something together and then when we are with the kids we are all together and we're not just ships passing in the night. It's really a nice opportunity to be together as well as to make music together.
Certainly must be nice to not have to carry all the performing/entertaining weight.
Yeah, it's great. It's freed me up to look a things differently too. Where I can really just focus on what I'm doing. Really just pay attention and be in the moment and move with those guys and not have to be the one leading and actually getting to follow, which is kind of fun.
Your new album, Made Up Mind, feels like a culmination, like maybe the first one was getting your paces down and the second one is more secure in everything?
When we first met and were putting the band together was when we made Revelator, so we were in the birth of the band stages. I felt like we wrote some really good songs and so we had some really good material to work with. Everybody's musicianship was so great that it was easy to put a good record together.
Same thing with this one. I felt like we had a lot of really good songs, and we enlisted some of our favorite people to write songs with and that's really part of the fun of the process of making a band real - it's getting to write new material and have new stuff to play out live. But I do feel like this band is growing all the time and this record was a big jump for me musically in the way it seemed a little tighter but looser at the same time. Like more freedom to just flow and go with the music and not worry so much about this is our first release.
You had done some writing with The Jayhawks' Gary Louris before that and it sounds like that was a good working relationship on this album.
Absolutely. A lot of these guys that we write with have such a natural gift, where it's really easy to sit down and go, "Do you have anything?" "Yeah I came up with this idea. What do you think of this?" Maybe it's a line, a chorus, a beginning sentence, maybe a couple chords. So we all sort of throw in our two cents and then make it into something. Everybody is so talented that it just kind of flows out.
People like Gary Louris and Oliver Wood, when you're writing with them, they just have endless fountains of lyrics, ideas and music concepts that are just great. Everything they do you pretty much like. So it's really fun and easy to write with those guys.
What's the plan going forward? This came out last year. Have you thought about when you'd like to get back in the studio again?
We have been thinking about it, but we're basically on tour a lot. We're on tour until December 15 this year and then we actually star again January 10 or something. I know we have definitely a lot of dates booked into next year, which is great and everything but you have to find some time to write. We do have some time set aside in October when the band is going to come down and mess around and write.
The great thing is that we don't have a deadline right now. We're trying to weigh our options. We're with Sony right now but I think our contract is basically almost up, so we're trying to see what our options are. We might go with them again or we might do something on our own. It's hard to know and the industry has changed so much that there are a lot of things up in the air. So we're trying to take our time and we're going to go about writing a bunch of material and then when its time to record it we'll be ready to go.
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