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The Derek Trucks Band: Songlines

Jim Santella By

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Derek Trucks has a powerhouse blues guitar manner that just won't let go. His lyrical message grabs you and holds on tight while his band pursues its contemporary aims with confidence. He's highly expressive, and yet everything he has to say through his guitar centers on the story at hand. He's not about flash and mesmerizing technique. Instead, Trucks relates the blues the way it's been done for over a century. He tells stories that leave you in their grasp.

The band surrounds and complements Trucks with a contemporary array of instrumental colors and solo voices. Band members sing lyrics about social issues and the way things ought to be. From Robert Johnson to the Allman Brothers and B.B. King, this program represents blues in all of its varied aspects.

On "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled & Crazy, the band grooves with a contemporary fever around a heartfelt vocal message. An influence from the Caribbean enters into the formula, while conventional R&B isn't far from its center. The song comes with a roots guitar solo from Trucks, however, that seals the message with a natural feel.

Several selections find the band wandering solemnly over a Far Eastern drone. Others bring in a hand drum texture for a natural sound, while much of the program remains rooted in pop and R&B. Trucks has broad appeal. He allows his blues band to collect impressions from many areas of modern music, and he interprets all of the music well. His true blues passion is always at hand, however, and he provides a convincing performance that nearly everyone can enjoy.


Track Listing: Volunteered Slavery; I

Personnel: Derek Trucks: guitar, dobro; Todd Smallie: bass, vocals; Yonrico Scott: drums, percussion, vocals; Kofi Burbridge: keyboards, flute, vocals; Mike Mattison: vocals; Count M

Title: Songlines | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Columbia Records


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