Tedeschi Trucks clean up at Blues Music Awards

Larry Sabo/ Tahoe Onstage

The Tedeschi Trucks Band closes out the 2016 High Sierra Music Festival.

Editor’s note: The Tedeschi Trucks Band  won Band of the Year, Rock Blues Album of the Year and Susan Tedeschi was named the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year at the May 11 Blues Music Awards in Memphis. Tedeschi Trucks Band headlined the High Sierra Music Festival and performed last September at the MontBleu Theatre in Lake Tahoe. Below is a review of the High Sierra concert.

  • 38th Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards
    May, 11, 2017
    Cook Convention Center, Memphis
  • Song: “Walk A Mile In My Blues” written by David Duncan, Curtis Salgado & Mike Finnigan and performed by Curtis Salgado on The Beautiful Lowdown
    “Blues Immigrant” written by Matthew Skoller & Vincent Bucher and performed by Matthew Skoller on Blues Immigrant
    “I Gotta Sang The Blues” written and performed by Thornetta Davis on Honest Woman
    “Seeing Is Believing” written by Ray Norcia and performed by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones on Seeing Is Believing
    “Walk it Off” written and performed by Toronzo Cannon on The Chicago Way
  • Band: Tedeschi Trucks Band
    Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
    Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials
    Nick Moss Band
    Sugar Ray and the Bluetones
  • B.B. King Entertainer: Joe Bonamassa
    John Nemeth
    Lil’ Ed Williams
    Sugar Ray Norcia
    Sugaray Rayford
  • Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist): Diunna Greenleaf
    Annika Chambers
    Inetta Visor
    Shaun Murphy
    Trudy Lynn
  • Traditional Blues Male Artist: Bob Margolin
    John Primer
    Lil’ Ed Williams
    Lurrie Bell
    Sugar Ray Norcia
  • Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Susan Tedeschi
    Alexis P Suter
    Ana Popovic
    Janiva Magness
    Shemekia Copeland
  • Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Kenny Neal
    Albert Castiglia
    Mike Zito
    Sugaray Rayford
    Toronzo Cannon
  • Soul Blues Female Artist: Mavis Staples
    Bettye Lavette
    Lara Price
    Terrie Odabi
    Vaneese Thomas
  • Soul Blues Male Artist: Curtis Salgado
    Johnny Rawls
    Wee Willie Walker
    William Bell
  • Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
    Eric Bibb
    Fiona Boyes
    Jimmy “Duck” Holmes
    Luther Dickinson
  • Album: Bobby Rush – Porcupine Meat
    Kenny Neal – Bloodline
    Nick Moss Band – From the Root to the Fruit
    Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – Seeing is Believing
    Toronzo Cannon – The Chicago Way
    William Bell – This Is Where I Live
  • Contemporary Blues Album: Kenny Neal – Bloodline
    Al Basile – Mid Century Modern
    Nick Moss Band – From the Root to the Fruit
    The Record Company – Give It Back To You
    Toronzo Cannon – The Chicago Way
  • Rock Blues Album: Tedeschi Trucks Band – Let Me Get By
    Albert Castiglia – Big Dog
    Mike Zito – Keep Coming Back
    Moreland & Arbuckle – Promised Land or Bust
    Walter Trout – Alive in Amsterdam
  • Soul Blues Album: Curtis Salgado – The Beautiful Lowdown
    Bobby Rush – Porcupine Meat
    Johnny Rawls – Tiger in a Cage
    Wee Willie Walker – Live! Notodden Blues Festival
    William Bell – This Is Where I Live
  • Traditional Blues Album: Lurrie Bell – Can’t Shake This Feeling
    Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore – House Party at Big Jon’s
    Bob Margolin – My Road
    Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue – Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
    Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – Seeing is Believing
  • Acoustic Album: Eric Bibb – The Happiest Man in the World
    Fiona Boyes – Professin’ the Blues
    Jimmy “Duck” Holmes – Live at Briggs Farm
    John Long – Stand Your Ground
    Luther Dickinson – Blues and Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook) Vol I and II
  • Best Emerging Artist Album: Jonn Del Toro Richardson – Tengo Blues
    Corey Dennison Band – Corey Dennison Band
    Guy King – Truth
    Terrie Odabi – My Blue Soul
    Thornetta Davis – Honest Woman
  • Historical Album: Bobby Rush, Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History of Bobby Rush, Omnivore Recordings
    Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, A Music Man Like Nobody Ever Saw, Bear Family Records
    B.B. King, More B.B. King: Here’s One You Haven’t Heard, Ace Records
    Doug MacLeod – Live in Europe, Under the Radar and Doug MacLeod
    Michael Burks, I’m A Bluesman, Iron Man Records
    Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers, Genuine Blues Legends, Elrob Records
  • Instrumentalist
    Horn: Terry Hanck

    Al Basile
    Nancy Wright
    Sax Gordon Beadle
    Vanessa Collier
  • Bass: Biscuit Miller
    Bob Stroger
    Michael “Mudcat” Ward
    Patrick Rynn
    R W Grigsby
  • Drums: Cedric Burnside
    Jimi Bott
    June Core
    Tom Hambridge
    Tony Braunagel
  • Guitar: Joe Bonamassa
    Bob Margolin
    Kid Andersen
    Monster Mike Welch
    Ronnie Earl
  • Harmonica: Kim Wilson
    Dennis Gruenling
    Jason Ricci
    Mark Hummel
    Sugar Ray Norcia
  • Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Victor Wainwright
    Anthony Geraci
    Barrelhouse Chuck
    Henry Gray
    Jim Pugh

QUINCY, CALIFORNIA — As Sunday rolled around, festivalgoers at High Sierra were noticeably less spirited. Maybe it was the three days of high heat, late nights and round-the-clock partying. Or maybe it was the dread of knowing the festival was ending and we’d all be returning to our normal lives. Either way, the low spirits didn’t last long into the night as 12-piece roots/soul/blues group Tedeschi Trucks Band threw the party of the weekend at the Grandstand stage to close out the weekend’s festivities.

The obviously road-tested band, featuring guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks and his wife, lead vocalist Susan Tedeschi, ran the gamut for the still music-hungry audience. From original material both new and old to faithful covers to improvisatory musical explorations, Tedeschi Trucks left no stone unturned.

Susan TedeschiWithout a word, the band launched into its set, opening with the laid-back country soul tune “Laugh About It” followed by “Don’t Know What It Means,” both from the band’s new album “Let Me Get By.” The new material was a huge hit with the crowd and the band’s balanced approach to the songs was immediately apparent. While TTB makes room for improvisation, it’s clear that the song comes first.

TTB continued with a cover of The Box Tops’ classic “The Letter,” ala Joe Cocker. In a lot of ways, Tedeschi Trucks Band feels like the group behind Mad Dogs & Englishmen, what with the swampy horn section, powerhouse backing vocals, dual drum assault and, most importantly, the members’ wherewithal to create a vibrant musical landscape by playing for the group instead of themselves.

The set continued to fly by with great songsmanship and performances from each member. After a thunderous double drum solo by J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell on “Idle Wind,” all the musicians left the stage except Tedeschi and backing vocalists Alecia Chakour and Mike Mattison for an intimate version of George Jones’ “Color Of the Blues.” Even with each voice being so distinct, they blended terrifically with one another.

The band returned for another song from its new album, “I Want More,” and as the tune trailed off Trucks took center stage and wowed the crowd with his beautifully vocal-sounding slide work. Although Trucks has been blowing away audiences since before he hit puberty, his growth as a musician and band leader was evident on Sunday night. His playing was as fiery as ever but different, each note was more impactful and each lick more lyrical than when he fronted his own band just six years ago. Trucks worked his way into “Bound For Glory” and the band took off once again.

It was then that Tedeschi Trucks showed off yet another piece to its fully stocked arsenal. Tedeschi took Mattison’s place with the backing singers and Mattison moved forward to unleash another Joe Cocker cover with “Sticks & Stones.” Mattison was simply incredible. He commanded the crowd’s attention even with a stage presence almost as stoic as Trucks’, the song ended in a frenzy as Mattison screamed the refrain of “deep down in my soul” with an intensity that damn near blew the audience off its feet.

Tedeschi returned to her position up front to finish out the set with “Let Me Get By.” The encore included “The Storm,” “Keep On Growing” by Derek & The Dominoes, and yet another Joe Cocker tribute in “Let’s Go Get Stoned,” with all four of the vocalists on stage taking turns singing lead.

Tedeschi Trucks Band’s ability to walk the tightrope between straight-ahead soul band and jam band puts it a cut above its peers. The band served as an unambiguous reminder that even with 12 world-class musicians on stage, it should always be the music that comes first.

From Albert King to Mike Zito, check out Tahoe Onstage’s extensive library of blues stories.

For complete coverage of High Sierra Music Festival, visit Tahoe Onstage Festival page. LINK

Derek Trucks

About Spencer Kilpatrick

Author Spencer Kilpatrick graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a degree in English. He hates the Lakers and his top three emcees are Blu, Earl Sweatshirt and Nas.

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