Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Grammy Award-winning 12-piece, led by husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, is releasing its new album, Signs, on Feb. 15 via Fantasy/Concord Records. It's the band's first new album in just over two years, following 2016's Let Me Get By.
"Yeah, I guess it's been a minute," Tedeschi says about the release of Signs. "It's great to finally have it out, after recording it off and on over the last year and a half," Trucks says.
Calling from their home in Jacksonville, Fl., the couple got some down time in between their always-busy touring schedule and raising their family.
"It's time to turn it loose. We're pretty excited to have our fans hear it, and to start playing it out live," Trucks says, alluding to the band's upcoming tour, which will take them all around Europe through spring, and then back to the United States through the summer.
Today, World Cafe premieres "Hard Case," an upbeat, shuffling, slide guitar-driven Tedeschi Trucks Band instant classic. "It's a fun song for us to play," Tedeschi says, "And like so many other songs on the album, is a great showcase for the band."
"We recorded the album in our studio, Swamp Raga," Trucks says. He shares production and engineering duties with Jim Scott, working alongside their studio engineer, Bobby Tis. The band recorded Signs live to two-inch analogue tape for the first time, using their original Neve Console combined with a '70s Studer tape machine. Recording the album live to analogue tape gives a glowing warmth to the overall sound of the album. Song titles like "Strengthen What Remains," "Still Your Mind," and "All The World" point to the album's overall emotional vibe. While there's a sense of loss and frustration that permeates the album, there is also a feeling of optimism. Throughout, especially on "Hard Case," the band effortlessly blends rock and blues and soul, accompanied by Trucks' impassioned guitar playing and Susan's soulful vocals.
During the writing and recording of the album, the group went through a number of tragedies: the passing of mentors like Leon Russell and Col. Bruce Hampton, and, even closer, Trucks' uncle and Allman Brothers alumnus Butch Trucks as well as founding Brother Gregg Allman. Derek Trucks, who was with the Allman Brothers from 1999 until 2014, calls these losses a "raw reality."
It's apparent how the passing of his Uncle Butch and Gregg has impacted Trucks' own musical sensibility, and the making of the album. "How their passing affected me ... was that there was the wanting to do it right and wanting to carry on whatever parts I learned from them that I could carry on," Trucks says. "The music they made was of a special time and a place. I'm never going to recapture that stuff, but I've certainly been able to take the lessons I learned from them."
"The lesson was every time that dude got on stage, he just aired it out and he gave it everything he had in his being. No matter how we was feeling or what mood he was in when he hit the stage. That was what was sacred to him," Trucks says, speaking about his uncle. "With Gregg, he just had the Mojo dripping off of him," Trucks continues. "Some of it was learned with his brother Duane [Allman], but some of it was just, he was born with a thing. There was an honesty and authenticity to what they did as musicians. You always want to make sure that you tap into and you want to avoid anything that kind of taints the well."
While Trucks and Tedeschi are definitely carrying on the musical richness and historical weight of the Allmans, it's the honesty and authenticity Trucks speaks about that informs every second of Signs. Listen to "Hard Case" above.
Signs Track List
- "Signs (High Times)"
- "I'm Gonna Be There"
- "When Will I Begin"
- "Walk Through This Life"
- "Strengthen What Remains"
- "Still Your Mind"
- "Hard Case"
- "All The World"
- "They Don't Shine"
- "The Ending"
Signs comes out Feb. 15 via Fantasy/Concord Records