Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks work hard to balance life between their band and their family.EXPAND
Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks work hard to balance life between their band and their family.
Photo by Duo/Courtesy of On Tour PR

Tedeschi Trucks Band Keeps Rolling Through Heavy Weather

Tedeschi Trucks Band plays the Music Hall at Fair Park tonight. 

The multigenre, 12-member Tedeschi Trucks Band recently wrapped up its annual summer Wheels of Soul tour, in which it headlined a three-bill act that, this year, included contemporary folk trio The Wood Brothers and storied blues and Americana duo Hot Tuna. It’s the kind of musical circus that recalls jaunts of yesteryear — like Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, or early tours by Delaney and Bonnie — that brought together likeminded players and audiences .

The short fall tour that is bringing the band to Dallas tonight will culminate in a six-night run at New York’s Beacon Theater. Singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi says there's a difference between a Wheels of Soul trek and one like this.

“The Wheels of Soul tours are fun because we get to hang out with really cool bands and collaborate. And we just get to be with them all day,” she says. “We’ll get there at 2 p.m. for sound check even if we don’t go on until 9 p.m. So this last time, we just got to hear stories from Jack [Casady] and Jorma [Kaukonen, of Hot Tuna] about playing Woodstock while in the Jefferson Airplane or jamming with Jimi Hendrix. I mean, wow!”

Before the TTB’s 2010 founding, Tedeschi had success as a solo artist. Her husband and co-bandleader, Derek Trucks, led a group, was a permanent member of the Allman Brothers Band and was a touring axeman for Eric Clapton. Doyle Bramhall II, a fellow guitarist on that tour, has become a close friend and writing partner for Tedeschi and Trucks.

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While the band lineup has changed slightly over the course of three studio LPs and two live records — the most recent of which is this year’s Live from the Fox Oakland — Tedeschi enjoys the somewhat controlled chaos of the circus.

“This band is really unique, and there are so many great players and the personalities are just wonderful,” she says. “I’m very lucky to be in this circus, too."

Tedeschi and Trucks are writing material for a new studio record, collaborating on some tracks with Bramhall and TTB singer Mike Mattison. Tedeschi says the subject matter is a struggle this time.

“It’s hard not to write about hurricanes and war and politics and racism," she says. "It’s just hard to comprehend everything going on today. But we want to write music that makes people have a positive feeling. … People need hope because there’s not a lot out there.”

Tedeschi and Trucks have a home and recording studio in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the time of this interview, had evacuated to Birmingham, Alabama, because of Hurricane Irma.

“We evacuated yesterday to here because it was mayhem in Florida. ... And after watching you guys with Harvey, I was like, ‘We’re outta here,'” Tedeschi says.

“We got our kids, our dog, some family members and a couple of guitars and hit the road. We even told our crew down more south in Ocala to get the bus, get the equipment for the tour and come up here so we can wait it out.”

There is a different kind of family element to this family band because both parents are gone for long stretches of time. Tedeschi says that during the summer, the couple's son and daughter often go on the road and help work the merchandise booths, but the luster has worn off a bit as they’ve gotten older.

“This type of life is what they’ve always known. … They’ve been touring since they were babies. They get frustrated with us sometimes because they’ll say, 'I can’t go on tour. I have tests!” Tedeschi says, laughing. “So we try to listen to them and their needs. Derek’s mom lives three doors down and takes care of them when we’re on tour. It’s not a perfect situation, but we make it work.”

The Tedeschi Trucks Band and special guests Hard Working Americans perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, at the Music Hall at Fair Park, 909 First Ave. Tickets are $19 and up at ticketmaster.com

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