In 2022, Tedeschi Trucks Band, the Florida 12-piece headed by married duo Susan Tedeschi (lead vocals, guitar) and Derek Trucks (guitar), released scintillating epic I Am The Moon in four separate volumes.
With an accompanying film for each, the album became an episodic rock’n’roll experience, informed by the same ancient Persian poem, Layla & Majnun, that had once inspired Eric Clapton’s Layla.
Then they hit the road, ending with triumphant shows across Europe. We caught up with Susan Tedeschi for a look back of what has been a good year for the band, and what lies ahead.
How was 2022 for you?
Very busy, but really fun. The band is really firing on all cylinders, we’re getting tighter and tighter.
Has there been a highlight?
Coming over to Europe. It was wonderful to play in Ireland, because my grandfather’s from there. I loved playing London too. I’m a mixture of Irish, English and Italian. And, honestly, I’m just happy to be alive. The world is in such an uproar that it’s lovely to be back and doing what we love.
Was I Am The Moon intended from the start to be a four-volume concept piece?
No, it developed over time. The main writers in the band – Derek and myself, Mike [Mattison] and Gabe [Dixon] – wrote songs that were all part of the same theme. And we were thinking about the old days, when people made fabulous records that were thirty-five-to-forty minutes long: Axis: Bold As Love, or John Coltrane records, or blues records by Elmore James or Big Mama Thornton.
The new songs fitted perfectly into four separate albums, so we decided to release them like episodes. We wanted people to digest the music, really get comfortable with it, and then look forward to the next one. The whole idea was to have something communal. That’s when Alix Lambert came in, making these amazing films for each record.
How does the dynamic work between you and Derek when you’re creating music?
It’s like a relationship. It’s up and down, give and take, sacrifice and passion. It’s all of the emotions, honestly. Having a great day is lovely, but you wear your heart on your sleeve on a bad day and people can see it. At the same time, it makes people realise that we’re human and, no matter what, we get through things. The music side of it has actually been quite easy. We just have a natural connection and flow, so when we’re writing it’s sort of effortless at times.
On a wider level, this seems to be a good time for frontwomen in bands. What’s your take on that?
I love that women are now really coming out and being more prominent. And I think it’s great that women are finally getting more credit for being musicians and not just singers. That was one of the reasons I started playing guitar when I was younger. I wanted to be able to lead a band and for them to take me seriously.
What’s Christmas like in the Tedeschi Trucks household?
It’s usually pretty relaxed. I’m definitely a very domesticated mom: I do the cooking and sewing and cleaning, all that stuff, pay all the bills. Derek’s really good with the business side of it. He talks to all the people I don’t want to talk to, so it’s a good hand-off.
Looking to the immediate future, where do you go after a project like I Am The Moon?
Good question! I’ve always wanted to do a country record and a gospel record. And Derek’s always wanted to do more of a jazz or instrumental record, so in the future we’re going to try to do some solo projects as well as this band. Actually, I’m hoping to do something with Harry Styles too. We’re connecting with some of his management and there’s talk about it, so maybe that will be really fun and exciting.
What’s next for Tedeschi Trucks Band?
This band has such a very important and beautiful connection with each other. Writing-wise, we’re always so inspired by different things. It can go in so many different directions that it’s hard to predict. But I think we might continue the idea of making records with visuals and releasing them to the world at the same time. I think that would be a really cool tradition.