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January 14, 2009

"Already Free", First Impressions...

Okay, so obviously I'm a Derek Trucks Band fan so first thing to say is that I'm bound to love it, if not now then at some point in the not-too-distant future!

My first impression is that it's a lot more laid back than the band's last two albums. Recorded at Derek's new home studio, it sounds like the kind of record you'd make if you were just kicking back with family & friends and having a good time with it. It's not fiery like "Joyful Noise" (still my favourite album) and it's not as much of an attempt to showcase the live show in the studio as "Songlines" was.

For those of you who know singer Mike Mattison's side-project, Scrapomatic, there's a touch of that vibe in there. There are hints of gospel, blues(ish), soul... lots of things. A couple of the tracks, like "Our Love" are real curve-balls. Guest vocalists Susan Tedeschi and Doyle Bramhall II add their own colour and feeling to the mix. In particular, Bramhall brings in some 70's tinged soft rock/soul crossover. What's mostly gone are the Eastern influences of the jazz stylings. It's all very 'back porch'. The track that Susan supplies vocals for, "Back Where I Started From", is possibly most representative of the overall 'airy' feeling of the album.

Oh, and Derek's new home studio sounds great! Production is really good.

Actually, what's just struck me is how much Derek's trademark blistering slide work plays second fiddle to the songs themselves. You can tell it's Derek playing (as you always can) but mostly he provides a gentle lapping wave rather than a earth-engulfing tsunami. And that's alright. His sound is relaxed and confident but not overpowering. Every single one of the band's albums is different so the style of this new offering isn't a huge surprise. Moreover their albums are a separate entity from their live shows. I'm 100% sure that played live all these tunes can be whipped up into a frenzy.

I'll admit I'm not totally sold on one single listen through, but I have no doubt I'll buy into it in the long run. I'm seeing a lazy summer afternoon, doors flung wide open and long, cool cocktails with good friends.


Col said...

Sounds great. I am really looking forward to seeing them at the Bush.

Kenski said...

Me, too, though of course I'll get to see them first in New Orleans :-)

I've listened to it a couple more times today and it's a slow grower.