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Susan Tedeschi: Going Back To The River With Her Latest Release

I Love Music!

These are the opening three words I wrote for TheBluesBlogger site. It was a year ago this weekend that I published my about me page and my first blog post. For the first time in many years, I had a lot of time to relax and reflect on my life. While in the hospital recovering from a heart attack last year, one thing I kept dwelling upon over and over again… “I want to write again.” With my love of music weaved together with my past and current experiences, I created the The Blues Blogger. The name was something I came up with one lonely scary night in the hospital… When I finally got home, and I checked on the domain, to my surprise it was available! You can click on the link to go to my about me page.

Throughout my life it was always music that inspired, motivated, energized and now soothes my soul. This past year, I’ve written about many past moments that have influenced me. There is another that I haven’t mentioned on this blog yet, but is an important flashback… I recall playing a game with my wife TBBW when she was pregnant with our son. An interesting yet simple game… We would play our favorite music and see whose tunes would get the baby to kick. I think TBBW would have to agree, that even in the womb, blues and jazz would get that little guy rocking… Its no wonder my son today shares both our passion for music…

Recently I was asked to write something regarding the upcoming release from Susan Tedeschi. I had listened to her music and was a fan, but wasn’t overly familiar with her work. I loved her collaboration on the song Too Many Tears on the latest Buddy Guy album Skin Deep. Her most recent labor of love, Back To The River, due on October 28th has made me pay close attention and realize her enormous talent… Like any typical Blues Blogger post, I needed to listen to her album and do a little research on Tedeschi’s background. As I was listening and reading about her life, I thought to myself how Tedeschi’s two children must really groove being brought up in a household where music was everywhere. And such sweet soulful and heartfelt sounds indeed! Does all this sound familiar?

Susan Tedeschi

was born on November 9, 1970 in Boston, but was raised in Norwell, Massachusetts. She was always musically inclined, making her public debut as a 5 year old understudy in a Broadway musical. She would also perform for family members, and enjoyed listening to her father’s vinyl record collection of such artists as Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Playing in bands since the age of 13, she started her first group at age 18 called the Smokin Section.

“I had a lot of influences in addition to Janis Joplin,” the singer said. “Buddy Holly, Freddy King, Bob Dylan, Mavis Staples were always being played by my parents. I’d be taken to the Newport Festival and see Muddy Waters and Lightnin’ Hopkins. My grandfather had an Irish bar and bands would play a lot of Irish songs there, especially IRA anthems. I was surrounded by music, and a lot of it wasn’t the usual top 40 stuff.”

Her father played acoustic guitar and harmonica and encouraged Susan and her two brothers to play and sing along. There always seemed to be music being played in the Tedeschi household and Susan’s love of music would come naturally.

Tedeschi attended Berklee College of Music and received her bachelor of music in composition and performance. During those days, she began sitting in with local blues jams at venues and absorbed herself in the Boston music scene.

In 1994 she formed the Susan Tedeschi Band and a year later she began playing guitar and further honed her skills. In 1997 the band was signed by Indy label Tone-Cool Records, and in February of 1998 released Just Won’t Burn, featuring guitarist Sean Costello. The album would go on to receive very positive reviews from blues publications and immediately turned Tedeschi into a rising national blues star.

Lilith Fair

In 1999 Tedeschi would find herself playing several dates in the all-woman traveling festival, Lilith Fair, organized by Sarah McLachlan. As she toured more extensively throughout the United States, her bold stage presence and powerful voice began to draw larger crowds. With a tremendous amount of hard work, Tedeschi was eventually opening for the likes of Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and Bob Dylan.

Tedeschi’s 2000 Grammy nomination for best new artist strongly raised her profile. Her nomination put her along side rising stars such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Macy Gray and Kid Rock. This further led to major magazine and newspaper reviews. However, she would refuse to play the superstar game, and turned away from the music business rather than build on her Grammy momentum.

While on tour in 1999 she met slide guitarist Derek Trucks while opening for The Allman Brothers Band, and in 2001 they would get married. They have two children; Charles Khalil Trucks named for saxophonist Charlie Parker, guitarist Charlie Christian and poet Khalil Gibran, and Sophia Naima Trucks; her middle name picked as a tribute to a John Coltrane ballad. They reside in Jacksonville Florida which brings them home Back To The (St. John’s) River.

Their marriage coincided with the Tom Dowd produced 2002 release Wait For Me, where she received her second Grammy nomination. There was a live disc in 2004 and then the soulful Hope and Desire in 2005. On that disc Tedeschi concentrated on her vocal chops, choosing some great songs to cover and leaving the bulk of guitar work to her husband and Doyle Braham II. She also tours to rave reviews with Soul Stew Revival; a combination of members of The Derek Trucks Band and her own band with additional ingredients tossed in for good measure.

Back To The River

Three years in the waiting, this upcoming release focuses on Tedeschi’s songwriting abilities. She has co-written all but one of the eleven tracks on this outstanding project.

I’m hooked on this album. In today’s busy and fast times, it’s challenging for people to sit back, listen and just let things wash over you. But with this upcoming release, I made it a point to do just that! While listening to tracks from this album, I just went with the flow, and this article pretty much wrote itself. As a result, I’ve been deeply moved by this honest look at life and love through today’s emotional and sensitive times. Tedeschi has worked hard to get Back To The River to sound this good and it truly shows.

“These songs,” she says, “are about real life issues that have been on my mind. I don’t think it’s my job to impose my opinion on people, but I do feel it’s my responsibility to write songs that reflect the times and how I feel about them. Becoming a parent makes you start to think on a different scale, and it made me realize that you can write more than love songs. Even if a song can’t change the world, you can still capture a little tiny bit of truth and deliver it to people.”

My son who is now 13 has also become a fan. I’ve been hearing him play some of Tedeschi’s previous works that he has downloaded from my online music account. (He knows he should be asking me first- right Buddy?) Oh well, he’s just doing it because he thinks Tedeschi’s a “pretty cool lady.” I couldn’t agree more… I have this feeling my son would have been kicking up a storm even if he had heard her vibe over 13 years ago. Start spreading the news, because this is Susan Tedeschi’s most personal, creative and sincere work to date. You’re going to love it!

Upcoming Tour Dates:

November 2008

6 – Virginia Beach, VA – Sandler Center for Performing Arts
7 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live!
8 – Hartford, CT – University of Hartford
11 – Boston, MA – Berklee Performance Center
12 – New York, NY – Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza
14 – Albany, NY – Hart Theater
15 – Pittsburgh, PA – Byham Theatre
16 – Alexandria, VA – Birchmere
18 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre
20 – Chicago, IL – Park West
21 – Minneapolis, MN – Pantages Theatre
22 – Madison, WI – Barrymore Theatre
24 – Indianapolis, IN – Vogue Theater
25 – Louisville, KY – Brown Theatre

Now It’s Time to Turn This Post Over To You

Are you a Susan Tedeschi fan? Have you ever seen this soulful blues rock artist at work? Any Tedeschi favorites you would like to share? Add your comments below…

The Blues Blogger

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13 Responses to “Susan Tedeschi: Going Back To The River With Her Latest Release”

  1. tricia October 26, 2008 at 8:49 am #

    Congratulations on your first! You have amazing knowledge of the music world. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Fitzgerald October 27, 2008 at 9:38 pm #

    I really enjoy listening to Susan’s music a lot. I loved “Just Won’t Burn” and played it over and over again. It is one of those CDs where every song on it is a good one.

    And I too love how powerful her voice is. The first time I heard her was on David Dye’s World Café NPR show. And when I saw her I could not believe that all that sound was coming out of that little woman.

    Thanks for another well written post.

  3. The Blues Blogger October 28, 2008 at 4:30 am #

    Tricia and Fitz— Thank you both for your continued support and kind comments… Back To The River will be released today, it will be interesting to see how it does…

  4. tricia October 30, 2008 at 5:21 am #

    I have an award for your blog at my place. You may pick it up whenever you wish. Congratulations. You have an amazing blog. ~ tricia

  5. The Blues Blogger October 30, 2008 at 8:14 pm #

    Thanks Tricia… That’s very cool! I’m glad you like the site.

  6. Steve October 31, 2008 at 9:58 am #

    I just “stumbled” onto the Blues Blogger and what a treat. I have always loved Susan’s work and am amazed that not everyone knows about her. Her Just Wont Burn track and entire CD is excellent – a classic!
    Thanks for your blog and I will visit often.

  7. The Blues Blogger October 31, 2008 at 4:43 pm #

    Thanks for visiting Steve… Feel free to stop by anytime and say hello…

  8. MIKE BEASLEY November 2, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    WHAT A GREAT VOICE

  9. Bill November 4, 2008 at 7:28 am #

    I just purchased this disc the other day. Couldn’t wait. You were right. I’m lovin it! Once again thanks for a great music suggestion. Yes she does have a great voice. Keep it coming blues man.

  10. Roger November 24, 2008 at 12:09 pm #

    First heard her on a Pod-cast – Austin Riffs – and really thought she had a great sound. Thank Goodness for the internet and a way to find the greatest Blues and keep up on Blues happenings — because where I’m at just doesn’t “get it” – Thanks for keeping the blues alive!

  11. Duane November 24, 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    Headed back again this year to Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre on New Years Eve for the Soul Stew Revival with Susan and hubby Derek Trucks. As a Georgia transplant from Northern Virginia, this is certainly a great way to ring in the new year down South.

  12. MJK (Mike) November 30, 2008 at 10:57 am #

    I have to admit that I had only found about Susan Tedeschi about 3 months ago, but I love her music.

    As a beginner guitarist, I love any guitarist. However , she is just amazing on the guitar. And yes I am jealous…

  13. earthtoholly January 14, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    I love her voice and hadn’t heard of her until recently when I was trying to find the Clapton song “Anyday” on Playlist. Wasn’t there so I went to YouTube. There’s a video of her singing with Trucks’ band (I hadn’t heard of him either) at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, and it was so good! Her voice + his guitar work were amazing!

    So cool about the music game with your son…very unique!

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