Saturday, January 24, 2009

Derek Trucks Band - Already Free (Victor, 2009)

Guitarist Derek Trucks' prodigious talent has allowed him to sit in with the likes of The Allman Brothers and McCoy Tyner, as well as lead a successful band steeped in rock, jazz and soul music. Joined by band members Todd Smallie on bass and vocals, Yonrico Scott on drums, Kofi Burbridge on keyboards, flute & vocals, Mike Mattison on lead vocals, and Count M’Butu on percussion, the band is very talented, but to their credit, never allows their virtuosity to run away with the music. Most songs stay under five minutes and are short, sharp and to the point, devoid of jam band pretensions. Although Trucks guitar is the focus of the disc, Mattison's rough and bluesy singing is a focal point, bringing a gritty realism to the cover of Bob Dylan's "Down In the Flood" and a booty shaking funk feel to something to make you happy. Trucks life partner Susan Tedeschi sits in on vocals (and guitar presumably) on the very nice and ruminative acoustic blues "Back Where I Started." Overall, this ia a fine album which wears its inspirations proudly on its sleeves, but still continues to search for new vistas to explore.

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