The Power of Two. Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi.
Friday I had the opportunity to catch Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi play a show in KC. This was the first time I've had the chance to catch either of them live. Of course, being a guitar player myself, I've followed Derek for some time, and he did not disappoint. His lines are so fluid, his phrasing is so unique, and so tight, and he's hands down the best slide player I've ever heard. Susan sings with such power and emotion, and is a fantastic guitar player in her own right. This show has cemented her in my mind as the best female performer in music today, or any other day for that matter.
The performance had everything I love about music; phenomenal musicianship, fantastic songwriting and vocal performance, huge dynamic range, and stellar moments of improvisation, all seamlessly woven together in a way that is truly original.
And that band! The band was just ridiculous. They played this show with Oteil Burbridge on bass, Kofi Burbridge on keys & flute, Tyler Greenwell on drums, JJ Johnson on drums, Mike Mattison and Ryan Shaw on backing vocals. I must admit, that I was just a little envious. I've played with some fantastic musicians in my time, but it's always been a desire of mine to have a top to bottom, world-class, "killer” band. During sound check, I really wanted to jump up there and sit in. But of course they would have had to call security and drag me away, and I would have missed the show. But again I digress.
The main impression I came away with after the show, was that this musical pairing is special. The best comparison I can come up with is…wait for it…wait for it… Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. How can I compare anyone to arguably the greatest rock duo in the history of the world you ask? Let me elaborate.
Of all the projects that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant have worked on as solo artists, or collaborations with other musicians, none have ever compared to the brilliance of their work together. While some of their collaborations have even gotten Grammy recognition, nobody in their right mind would say that their solo work has even come close to touching what they did together.
In much the same way, while Derek and Susan have made so much amazing music on their own, their collaboration as songwriters, blended with such amazing musicianship, brings to the stage something that is truly magical, (I hate the word magical, it's so cheesy, but I can't seem to come up with a better word at the moment). They clearly bring out the best in each other. The fact that they are married as well is an even scarier thought, imagine what monster musicians their offspring will be!
One of the perks of doing what I do, is getting a chance from time to time, to interact with some of the best musicians this world has to offer. And I must say, after having a chance to talk with Derek and Susan and the band a bit before and after the show, they are the most down to earth, just "good people” you'll meet. These are the kind of people you want to see succeed at the highest level. I have a feeling that the best is yet to come from Derek and Susan, and my ears for "two” can't wait.