It was after a concert this past New Year's Eve, remembers guitarist Derek Trucks, when he and his wife, singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, both recognized that after several experiments with different configurations of musicians they'd finally assembled the best-possible band with which to pursue their shared musical vision. "When we got off stage, me and Susan both knew," he says. "We were like, 'This is it. This is what we’ve been trying to get to.'”
The result is Revelator, released this week by the newly formed Tedeschi Trucks Band. Recorded at the couple's home studio in Jacksonville, Florida, the album brims with the soulful spirit and grit of classic rhythm and blues, gospel and rock 'n' roll.
It also brims with musicians, nearly a dozen in all. "There’s a little bit of, 'Oh, shit, what have we created — this 11-piece monstrosity?'" Trucks says, laughing, "but it’s hard to go back once you hear that and feel that."
What expectations did you have going into it as far as what you wanted the album to sound like?
Trucks: It was just continually writing until we found songs that worked. They were songs that we both felt really great about, and they were really comfortable. Working with the different songwriters was amazing. The whole process was really natural and fun. And I felt like we were always moving forward and working toward something. Probably six months into putting this idea and concept in motion we had 15 tunes that we felt really good about. Any other time in our careers I think we would’ve just recorded them and that would’ve been the record. With this, we kept pushing until we got to maybe 35, 40 tunes and then from that original 15 — that A list — we probably ended up using two, maybe three songs on the final record. We kept knocking songs that we really liked off the list with songs we liked more, which was for me a unique situation to be in. I’ve always been on the road 300 days a year and when you get 12 songs you record them, and there’s your record. This was a totally different thing.
Did each of you have to sacrifice any aspect of your respective styles in making this album together?
Tedeschi: Honestly I don’t think I had to sacrifice anything. We wrote the whole record together and it’s all stuff that I would do on any of my projects. I don’t really feel like I did anything different. It’s interesting a lot of people think that. But at the end of the day, yes, Derek improvises longer solos than I would, but I love to improvise too. And I love all the aspects of all the different styles of music on the record. A lot of the songs on the record are stuff I would’ve naturally done anyway, if the songs were there. So I don’t feel like it was that different. For me it was just more fun because I got to hang out with my husband more.