The Tedeschi Trucks Band flexes some serious muscle on “Let Me Get By”, its first new record in three years.
When guitarist/vocalist Susan Tedeschi and slide guitarist Derek Trucks decided to shelve their respective bands and pool their talents to become the Tedeschi Trucks Band several years ago there were those who shook their heads.
Both bands had, after all, done very well and each had a solid fan base.
Why kill a good thing, some thought. Those who thought that thought wrong.
“Revelator”, released in 2011, “Everybody's Talkin”, the live set released in 2012 and “Made Up Mind”, released in 2013 showed the decision to merge their talents had been a very good one, because from that union has come some exemplary material.
And they continue down that path with “Let Me Get By”, the band's first new studio recording in almost three years.
This set represents a number of firsts for Tedeschi and Trucks, who've been husband and wife for some 15 years.
In addition to being their first record for a new label, Fantasy Records, “Let Me Get There” is the first record by the band to be produced by Trucks, with a little help from Doyle Bramhall II, who served as co-producer on three tracks.
It's also the first record in which Trucks and Tedeschi co-wrote all of the material.
And last, but by no means least, it's the first record for Trucks since the dissolution of the Allman Brothers Band, which he spent 15 years in.
With the Allmans now out of the picture, Trucks was free to devote a lot more time and energy to TTB and he put a lot of that into the making of this set.
Countless hours were spent in the studio with engineer Bobby Tis trying to get exactly the right sound and crafting the arrangements which, with a 12-piece band that includes a three-piece horn, is no small task.
And that work has paid off in spades.
Tedeschi, Trucks and company – which now includes bass player Tim Lefebvre – flex some serious muscle on this record, a big, ballsy, steaming mix of blues, soul, R&B and funk, with more than a little hint of southern gospel music.
“Let Me Get” By features 10 new, original songs that together make for one hell of a record.
Anyone lucky enough to see the band last year will have heard some of these songs but a number of them were intentionally held back for the release of this record.
The songs are powerful and the performances are, simply put, truly outstanding. I don't know if I've ever heard either Tedeschi or Trucks sound any better than this and that's saying something.
Stellar work all around by the band, in particular Kofi Burbridge on keyboards, Kebbi Williams on sax, the new bass player Lefebvre and Mike Mattison, who's been singing harmonies and writing for the band for some time but steps out front here to sing lead.
In addition to the 10-track standard issue, there is also a 2-Disc deluxe version of Let Me Get By that features eight additional tracks. Some were recorded live at The Beacon in New York, the rest are alternate mixes, early song takes and additional studio material. You can also get this on 180 gram vinyl. Choice offerings include Anyhow, Don't Know What It Means, Crying Over You, Hear Me and Let Me Get By.
(Rating 4 out of 5 stars)
Doug Gallant, a reporter with The Guardian, writes his music review column for The Guardian every week. He welcomes comments from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 629-6000, ext. 6057.