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November 5, 2008

Exciting Times!

Okay, so Obama has won the 2008 US Presidential election with a landslide. Doesn't need a recount. No point in complaining that it was too close to call. He even won in FLORIDA! All done and dusted, time to get on with it.

The world turns. It's another day.

All the election hype rather overshadowed the other major event of yesterday, though. What was it? I shall tell you!

Maybe I won't...

Maybe I will...

Oh, alright. I will. The Derek Trucks Band released their first single from their hotly anticipated (by me) new album, "Already Free", which is due out in the new year. It's on digital download (probably a smart marketing move, though a little too techie for me).

From the band's website:

The new DTB single "Down in the Flood" will be available through iTunes and all major digital music providers Nov. 4, a little taste for those of you eagerly awaiting the new dTb studio album Already Free (due in stores Jan '09).

Already Free was self-produced by Derek at his new home studio in Jacksonville. In addition to the core members of the dTb, the album offers collaborations with a close circle of family and friends including Doyle Bramhall II, Oteil Burbridge, Susan Tedeschi, Duane Trucks and more. The album came to life organically in Derek's backyard as friends stopped by to write and rehearse in the new studio. Derek explained in a recent interview: "When we went in the studio originally it was just to write and kind of get comfortable in the space. It wasn't to do a record, so there was no pressure. There were some times when everybody would go out to dinner and I would stay behind. If I got an idea, I would run into the control room, hit 'play,' then run out into the recording room and set up a mic. You'd hear this thing banging around and then this guitar part comes in. A lot of the album was completely done by the seat of our pants, and a lot of the sounds we got, it was just so in the moment."

Original material makes up a major part of this record, largely due to a luxury Derek isn't used to: time off. His hectic schedule finally opened a window for Derek to write at home with band mates and friends. "Everyday I would get up, and me or Susan would drive our two kids to school," Derek says. "I'd come back, have some coffee and then head to the studio and start messing around with a guitar and hope a song idea appeared. Somehow without fail, there was at least a song written every day, or some great cover idea that came to us and we recorded it. So there was a good three or four-week period where every day we were writing and recording a song. That was different for me." In addition to the wealth of original material on Already Free there are some choice cover songs interpreted and revived as only the dTb can do, including the single being released in November. "Down in the Flood," from Bob Dylan and the Band's Basement Tapes, is a tune that may have more portent now than when Dylan wrote it in 1967. "That was one that was kind of an afterthought," admits Derek. "We just went in and tracked it. I think it really turned out to be one of the most powerful songs on the album. Lyrically, it's pretty timely. Crash on the levee, down in the flood, are significant post-Katrina. They are good metaphors, as there are in most Dylan tunes."

So, two big memos-to-yourselves on November 4th: 1) Participate in democracy by casting your vote, and 2) check out "Down in the Flood" for some fresh dTb!


For me, the dTb has always been about live performance, so it'll be interesting to see how this new work from Derek's own home studio comes out. I have to say I love the sound of the recording process. I must remember to pop around to his place for dinner sometime. Maybe I'll end up inspriring a song or two on his next (or the one after... or the one after that) album.

You never know...

4 comments:

Furtheron said...

here is something no doubt sacreligious to you... I've read numerous interviews with young Mr Trucks I can tell you his favoured guitar even (Gibson SG early 60s model) but I've never heard him play...

I need to make time.

I like his approach to recording I'm beginging to realise after another hour fiddling with a simple chord pattern last night that's vaguely Snow Patrol like that I need others physically there to help shape the stuff at the moment... But still can't get off my arse to organise anything...

Kenski said...

Oh, it's not sacreligious at all. I've considered buying an SG purely based on what Mr T can do with one. I *hate* the way they look, though, and when you pick one up it's too much like picking up a cardboard cut-out of a guitar for my tastes. There's nothing, well, sexy about an SG.

He's had various guitars made for him, including a LP and a custom PRS but he keeps on with what works for him rather than endorsing other products. That counts for something, doesn't it?

The only way to see dTb is live. There's a raw energy to Derek's playing that has yet to be captured on tape. The last album, "Songlines" was a decent showcase of what their live set-list would be like if studio produced, but my favourite studio album is still "Joyful Noise" (if you want a recommendation). It was recorded before vocalist Mike Mattison joined, though.

If you want a recommendation for which CD to buy, though, I'd go with the "Live at Georgia Theatre" one. Bangs for bucks it can't be beaten.

Col said...

I've got lots of odd ball DT stuff adn I am not mad keen on it. I like his guitar playing though.

Kenski said...

I think the key to 'getting' the dTb is to see them play live.

This is going to sound wierd, but you stand there in the crowd listening to them doing an electric jazz take on "Greensleeves" or "My Favourite Things" (inspired by Coltrane) and the performance is just transcendental.

It's not rockin' as such but even for me (a non-believer) it's like staring into the face of God. They do quite a lot of gospel/world devotional music inspired stuff and it's simply an incredible experience...

Goes really well with beer and nuts, too!