The Derek Trucks Band: Already Free
Talk about laziness. Slide guitar genius Derek Trucks is pushing 30, and so far he's only worked as a professional musician for two decades — jamming with everyone from Santana to Buddy Guy — been the second axeman with uncle Butch's Allman Brothers Band and led his own little combo for six studio releases now. Somebody needs to light a fire under this guy's ass. In addition to being one his band's finest albums, Already Free is also easily Trucks' most concise. Musically, the sprawling jams and heavy jazz/Indian/Middle Eastern influences have dissipated in favor of a straight-ahead blues/rock-based sound ("Something to Make You Happy"). But Trucks's impeccable, stinging slide work, coupled with vocalist Mike Mattison's rough-hewn, emotion-drenched voice, makes it anything but pedestrian in a genre teeming with jaywalking violations. Just check out the lilting soul of "Days is Almost Gone," R&B showstopper "Get What You Deserve" gospel-tinged "Sweet Inspiration" and gentle, lush "Our Love." The latter two feature, respectively, blues singer/Trucks's wife Susan Tedeschi and Arc Angel Doyle Bramhall II, giving it a loose, family-affair feel. First single "Down in the Flood" covers Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes track, but Trucks's slower, grittier take transforms the number from a rollicking sing-along to something deeper, even more foreboding. Already Free may be a break with previous DTB records, but it's a worthy, continuing chapter in the musical and spiritual journey of the soft-spoken, blond-maned bandleader. (Note: the Best Buy exclusive of the CD features three bonus tracks, and the iTunes version another one.)
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.