Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
As sure it's nearing closing time for the year, the Tedeschi Trucks Band will go back home for Susan Tedeschi.
The blues singer was raised in the Boston suburbs, and yet again, she and her musical soul mate Derek Trucks – not to mention their always top flight band – showed that home cooking tastes pretty darn fine.
The evening was divided into two sets on the fourth night of their residency at the theatre with a variety of originals and covers contained in both segments. Interestingly, there was very little repetition in song selection over the course of the four evenings.
The main difference between the two sets was that Trucks seemed more on fire in the second set. That's not to say that this always excellent axe man was not up to snuff during the first hour. Far from it, but his playing was more on the quieter side. No matter whether playing uptempo or ballads, Trucks is precise, yet efficient. Sure, he lit it up on occasions with his fretwork, but Trucks has never been about merely showing how fast his fingers could move. There' a lyricism to his playing, providing a warmth to the tunes.
Trucks paid homage to his Allman Brothers lineage (his uncle was founding member and drummer Butch, and Derek was with the Allmans starting in 1999) with the inclusion of "Dreams" and an instrumental take for the most part of "Whipping Post" to close out the second set.
The evening had an Eric Clapton bent to it as well with an invigorated take on Blind Faith's "Had to Cry Today" to bring home the first set and "Bell Bottom Blues" and "Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad" from Derek and the Dominoes in the second set. Based on Trucks' playing, adding the three songs to the set made perfect sense.
Tedeschi has a solid bluesy vocal delivery, but she also was just as comfortable on soulful songs or even Joni Mitchell's "The River," the first song of the two-song encore. And she did not let Trucks, her husband, steal the guitar centerpiece either as Tedeschi had ample space and opportunity to let loose on guitar more than once.
This band has never been only about Tedeschi or Trucks. TTB contains two drummers, a trio each of horns and back-up singers plus a keyboardist and bassist. Keyboardist Gabe Dixon received a lot of face time with his playing and also singing. Backing vocalist Mike Mattison had a turn or two out front as well with his slightly sandpapery soulful vocals adding just the right combination to the mix.
To put it simply, there are no weak links. Tedeschi and Trucks clearly and rightfully have no qualms about pro-actively letting their band mates take center stage.
Tedeschi Trucks Band closed with a winning take on one of their chestnuts, "Bound for Glory," showing that once again Tedeschi Trucks made it obvious that yes, you can come home again. See you next year.