Saturday, February 25, 2006

Derek Trucks Band - Songlines (Sony, 2006)

Derek Trucks certainly has good pedigree for a jam band musician, after sitting in with the Allman Brothers Band and eventually becoming a full-time member, Trucks married blues-rock diva Susan Tedeschi and put together his own band that melds jam band rock and roll with diverse influences of jazz, blues and even Indian raga. This new album finds the group curbing their eageness to jam and working within shorter songforms. Opening up with a brief run-through of Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Volunteered Slavery" the band moves into more traditional jam band territory with the vocal led tunes "I'll Find a Way" and "Crow Jane."

"Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni" is the highlight of the disc with exotic slide guitar along an East Indian motif along with flute and percussion. The band plays this difficult material with ease an excitement. "Revolution" is a blasting rock and roll tune, while "All I Do" has some nice interplay between the guitar and flute. Overall, this is a pleasant disc to listen too, but the focus this time out seems to be on shorter more radio friendly tunes with vocals instead of the fiery impassioned and improvisational jams the band has been known for. While there is some good music here, the material is best seen as a blueprint for the band's live performances.

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