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  1. #1
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    Default Cool article about Clapton, Duane Allman, Derek Trucks

    Neat read, check it out:

    Clapton's hired Trucks

    September 17, 2006

    BY JEFF JOHNSON Staff Reporter

    If you see Derek Trucks during his second trip to Chicago in three weeks, do him a favor and pinch him so he knows he's not dreaming. Better yet, pinch him to make sure he's awake. * The world's hardest-working axman, fresh off the road with the Allman Brothers Band, is already back on tour with Eric Clapton. The third date of their five-week North American swing is set for Wednesday at the United Center.

    Perhaps even more indicative of his in-demand status is how he spent a recent "week off": recording with jazz legends McCoy Tyner and Jack DeJohnette; playing tunes on "The CBS Saturday Early Show" from "Songlines," the eclectic, critically hailed album by the Derek Trucks Band; plugging the newly released "Songlines Live" DVD, recorded at Chicago's Park West in January; boning up on Clapton's music for the tour, and squeezing in a little face time with his wife, blues-rock star Susan Tedeschi, and their two young children.

    Concert preview

    ERIC CLAPTON WITH ROBERT CRAY
    When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
    Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison
    Tickets: $60-$125
    Phone: (312) 559-1212

    Trucks, the 27-year-old slide-guitar prodigy who joined the ABB as a teenager, feels no resentment from any of the Allmans, including his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks, for his conflicting schedule.

    "They've been really gracious," says Trucks, himself the most gracious of interview subjects during a half-hour call last week from his New York hotel room. "I was worried when I told them what was going on. I didn't know how they'd react, but they were really excited for me. They wanted to help me any way they could. They knew what kind of an opportunity it was for me, especially because they were so familiar with Eric's music and the whole Derek and the Dominos legacy."

    That short-lived blues-rock supergroup, formed in 1970 by Clapton and joined by guest artist Duane Allman for its only studio album, may have represented Clapton at his best, due in no small part to the guitar interplay between old Slow Hand and Allman, who died the following year. Clapton's longtime fans are anxiously anticipating the performance of songs from the album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs," with Trucks filling in the Allman licks.

    And Clapton, who named his group for the way his name was mispronounced during a stage introduction (Derek instead of Eric), finally has his Derek.

    Trucks says the group had four or five Derek and the Dominos' songs in its repertoire during a spring European tour, but he points out that Clapton is on the road not just with Trucks but also with guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, a holdover from previous tours.

    "It's really wild, with Eric, who gets such an amazing tone, and me playing in open E without a pick, and Doyle playing left-handed with his upside-down guitar," Trucks says. "There are things that Doyle can pull off that a conventional player couldn't -- great little quirks in his playing."

    Who plays what

    Trucks realizes he cannot establish the kind of musical kinship by spending a few weeks on the road with even the most talented guitarist that he has with Warren Haynes, his partner in the Allman Brothers since 2000. He says he would love to find that same level of camaraderie with Clapton: "There were a few times during the tour where there were some naturally really magical moments. That's exciting that the chemistry is there a few months into it. Of course, I've known Warren since I was 11, so there's no substitute for that, but we're well on our way."

    There's an ever-evolving relationship between the two Allman Brothers guitarists, almost like two chess masters who have played against each other countless times and can anticipate each other's next several moves.

    "A lot of it's that and finding what your strengths are and what his strengths are," Trucks says. "I can support him where he shines in a certain light and find the places where you're better or he's better. It's easy to be ultra-competitive [in a two-guitar band]. To me that doesn't go anywhere after a certain point. With us, we're beyond that stage. We have enough mutual respect to know where each other resides."

    Many newcomers to the ABB assume that when splitting up the guitar solos on their classic material, Trucks plays all the Duane Allman parts and Haynes takes on Dickey Betts' role, but Trucks says it's more complicated than that.

    "On some level that's the easy comparison," he says. "You have to remember, though, that Warren played that Duane role for seven years [from 1989 to '96] before I was in the band. When he came back into the fold, it was a matter of divvying those solos up. It took a good, solid year to reinvent those roles. We went back to square one."

    Keeps good company

    That's also where Trucks started last winter when he joined Clapton and rock legend J.J. Cale in the studio for the "Road to Escondido" sessions. The resulting album will drop Nov. 7 on Warner Bros.

    "That was my first time meeting Eric, Doyle, [keyboardist] Billy Preston [who died June 6], [drummer] Jimmy Oldecker ... it was pretty overwhelming. I was in the studio with multiple living legends, and I was like a kid in a candy store. I'm looking around, saying to myself, 'There's Billy Preston, there's J.J. Cale.' Every one of them was really generous. You didn't feel like you had no place being there. I was really shocked at how comfortable the whole thing felt."

    Trucks says he played on six or eight tracks during two days of sessions for "Escondido," but isn't sure how much of his work was used. He does allow, "I've heard some of the finished product, and it's one of the strongest records in quite a while. It has a relaxed feel to it."

    Despite being around musicians his entire life, thanks to his uncle Butch, Trucks has the good sense to recognize his privileged position, not just with rock legends like Clapton but also with the blues greats.

    Asked which ones made the strongest impression on him, Trucks first mentions the late soul-blues artist Little Milton.

    "With the Allman Brothers, we had some amazing moments with Little Milton at the Beacon Theater [the band's spring headquarters in New York] a month before he passed," he says. "He and Warren were very close, and Gregg [Allman, the ABB's vocalist-keyboardist] modeled his singing style after Little Milton. It was interesting to see Gregg around Milton. He showed a whole different side of himself that I'd never seen before. And it was the same thing with the two Allman Brothers drummers [Butch Trucks and Jaimoe] when we saw Elvin Jones in New York before he passed. They were sitting on the floor cross-legged like little kids. And me and Susan sat in with John Lee Hooker, which is high on the list for me."

    Still, a lot of guys would be finding every excuse to stay close to home with a wife like Tedeschi, whose career is skyrocketing much like her husband's. How does Trucks make time for family? "We've found creative ways to keep everyone close. My family was there for two weeks of rehearsal [with Clapton] in France. And they were there [in London] for our Albert Hall gigs. It's very expensive, but having family close is at the top of my list. I'm lucky to have grown up with a close family. My mom travels on the road with Susan and the kids."

    Trucks and Tedeschi have a son Charlie, 4, named for guitarist Charlie Christian, and daughter Sophia, 2, named for a John Coltrane ballad.

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/enter...sho-sunday-mus ic17.html#

  2. #2
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    By the way, if you're shopping around for a good DVD, check out the "Songlines" DVD mentioned in the above article. I've seen it a couple times and it's outstanding. Very good visual and sound quality, the band is very tight, cool pre-show interviews, and some amazing musicianship from every member of the band. Even if you don't dig the Derek Trucks Band's flavor of music, I guarantee you'll be amazed at the talent level....Then picture Derek and Warren Haynes "splitting heads" in the Allman Brothers. You'll quickly understand why it's real easy to forget about the continuing Van Halen soap opera.

 

 

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