Derek Trucks is the nephew of long-time Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, so it should come as no surprise he chose the blues as his primary inspiration. However, to label Trucks as "blues" musician would be too restrictive as his slide guitar wizardry takes him into limitless genres of the musical spectrum. If you listen to Derek Truck's, you can hear influences ranging from Elmore James, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and Wes Montgomery. "Early on people like Bobby Bland, Howling Wolf, and a lot of the early blues masters. Later on it was the jazz greats like John Coltrane, Miles, Wayne Shorter, and Sun Ra". Said Trucks about his wide reaching influences who helped shape his diverse style.
Derek Trucks picked up the guitar at age 9 and by age 12 the young guitar player was touring with the Allman Brothers, "When I was twelve I just sat in with the Allman Brothers, I joined the band in 1999. But it was listening to their records early on that was the biggest influence on me." Explains Derek. In addition, the youngster was sharing the stage with such blues greats as Buddy Guy under the watchful eye of his uncle. After forming his own band in high school, Trucks would jam with Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh, and Stephen Stills before his 20th birthday. Since 1994, Derek has been a welcome guest on projects ranging from Cendell Davis's debut, Tinsley Ellis's Storm Warnings to two recordings with Gov't Mule. In 1997 Derek Trucks released his self-titled debut for Landslide Records to critical acclaim for pushing the boundaries of conventual's blues. He quickly followed up this in 1998 with Out Of The Madness for the House of Blues, where again Trucks fused musical genres giving him a distinct sound that was both unique and original. It would take four years before Derek and his band would get out their third release, Joyful Noise, which critics are calling his best work to date. "The long length of time between our 2nd and 3rd releases was because of issues with our old record label. This band records pretty quickly there is not a lot of wasted time in the studio. As far as the growth of the band, it just seems to be the natural evolution of a searching musical ensemble." During this period he met and married his musical muse and life partner, Susan Tedeschi and the couple now have 1 child, KAHLIL GIBRAN.
Joyful Noise, Trucks third release, and debut for Columbia, finds the young virtuoso taking his music into uncharted territory in contrast to traditional blues. Besides the heavy Fusion and Jazz for which he has become known for, Derek incorporates World music this time out. "World music of all kinds have really influenced me and the band." In the company of Panama singer Rubén Blades, a Salsa timbre manifests on the track 'Kam-ma-lay'. Trucks expands his repertoire' even further with the help of Pakistani vocalist Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's chanting on Middle Eastern flavored 'Maki Madni'. "I have listened to Rahat and his uncles music for years. As far as hooking up with them it's just a matter of getting up the nerve to ask them." Despite his refreshing departures, Derek Trucks always returns to the blues. Solomon Burke lends his soulful voice to two cuts - Home In Your Heart and Like Anyone Else. "Solomon is such an amazing person and talent. He was such a positive energy to have at the session." Exlains Derek. Trucks produced and played on his wifes, Susan Tedeschi, new cd Wait For Me. Tedeschi lends her powerful vocals and fierce guitar work on Joyful Noise as she rips through the mid-tempo shuffle, Baby, Your Right. "When we play or record together it really seems like an extension of the day. It is really a relaxed and laid back process."
Even though Derek Trucks has yet to capture an extensive audience in comparison to other young blues guitarist such as Kenny Wayne Shepard, Jonny Lang or even wife Susan Tedeschi (who garnered her second Grammy Nomination as Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the hit "Alone" from her album Wait For Me), his talent, range and style far outweighs any Stevie Ray Vaughn wannabe.
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