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Tedeschi Trucks Band – I Am The Moon I. Crescent

June 20, 2022

My favorite album of 2021 was the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s (TTB) take on Layla. TTB has now doubled down by creating over two hours of original songs inspired by the Layla’s source material: the “eastern Romeo and Juliet” tale of star-crossed lovers Layla and Majnun by the 12th-century Persian poet Nizami Ganjav. For more details on the album background see David Fricke’s essay on the TTB website.

If you are not a fan of TTB, think of them as the successor to the sophisticated blues rock of the classic rock era: Clapton, Allman Brothers (where TTB guitarist Derek Trucks served for many years), Bonnie Raitt, etc. They are a “big band” – 12 pieces including two drummers and a horn section. The main feature is Derek Trucks’ tasty slide guitar and Susan Tedeschi’s vocals (and she is no slouch on slide either). There are multiple songwriters, vocalist and soloists. Although, songs get stretched, TTB doesn’t sound like a jam band – the sound of this band is more deliberate.

The album leads off with “Hear My Dear” featuring Susan on vocals. This is a good sample of who the TTB are: Susan’s bluesy/soulful vocals, Derek’s slinky solos with his fat tone, the twin drums, the horns, the organ, and rich background vocals. Lyrically the song sets up the story: “Hear my dear is your melody.”

“Fall In” features long time TTB vocalist and songwriter Mike Mattison – who was a major instigator of the album’s concept. The song has a New Orleans feel.

“I Am The Moon” is a gorgeous vocal duet between Susan and keyboardist Gabe Dixon. This sets the table of the star crossed lovers:

I am the moon, you are the sun
And look at you, flaming out in front of everyone
You are the star, I am the stone
Up here spinning along

“Circles ‘Round The Sun” has an infectious raga-like groove. Lyrically it suggests there is trouble ahead: “Do you know my name? Can you save me from this love?” The band is cooking here – lots of mini solos.

“Pasaquan” sounds like a lost Allman Brothers classic – an instrumental long jam – including obligatory drum solo (just long enough but not too long to become tedious).

Derek Trucks / Guitar
Susan Tedeschi / Guitar & Vocals
Tyler Greenwell / Drums & Percussion
Isaac Eady / Drums & Percussion
Mike Mattison / Harmony Vocals
Mark Rivers / Harmony Vocals
Alecia Chakour / Harmony Vocals
Kebbi Williams / Saxophone
Elizabeth Lea / Trombone
Ephraim Owens / Trumpet
Brandon Boone / Bass Guitar
Gabe Dixon / Keyboards & Vocals

TTB is taking an intriguing album release cycle. They are releasing the 24 songs over four albums over several months. I was initially disappointed about only getting 5 of the 24 songs, but now I am kind of digging that you are forced to savor each course of the meal.

With each release there will be a companion film (available on YouTube). The schedule is as follows:

I Am The Moon: I. Crescent
Film Premiere: May 31st
Album Release: June 3rd

I Am The Moon: II. Ascension
Film Premiere: June 28th
Album Release: July 1st

I Am The Moon: III. The Fall
Film Premiere: July 26th
Album Release: July 29th

I Am The Moon: IV. Farewell
Film Premiere: August 23rd
Album Release: August 26th

I am enthusiastic enough to have preordered the full deluxe vinyl package (now sold out from the band):

Can’t wait for the next installment!


From → Music Reviews

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