After 21 fantastic nights of music in 16 different states across the country, Tedeschi Trucks Band’s third annual “Wheels of Soul” tour is now in the rearview. The summer 2017 iteration of Tedeschi Trucks Band’s multi-band tour proved to be the biggest and most successful “Wheels of Soul” voyage to date. With support from “masters of soulful folk” The Wood Brothers and “psychedelic-blues institution” Hot Tuna, husband-and-wife bandleaders Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi and their well-oiled 12-piece outfit consistently shattered personal records throughout the tour.
Over the course of their month-long run, TTB sold out shows in 10 of the 20 cities visited, brought in thousands of fans to large outdoor venues like Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center, and performed more than 70 different songs—from time-tested originals to covers of classics by the likes of the Derek & Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Jefferson Airplane and beyond—continuing to affirm their stature as one of the most exciting, soulful live bands on the road today.
In addition to Tedeschi Trucks Band’s ever-increasing abilities as a cohesive unit, the outfit’s third “Wheels of Soul” outing further cemented the annual tour’s reputation as a unique and unmatched collaborative summer musical experience. On multiple occasions throughout the tour, Derek and Susan welcomed their supporting bands onstage to team up on songs by everyone from B.B. King to Paul McCartney to Jefferson Airplane.
The collaborations came to a peak at the band’s sold-out two-night run at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado. In addition to The Wood Brothers and Hot Tuna, Tedeschi Trucks band was joined over the course of the weekend by renowned jam scene elder statesmen like John Medeski of Medeski Martin & Wood and John Bell of Widespread Panic. You can check out never-before-seen pro-shot footage of collaborations from Tedeschi Trucks Band’s two-night Red Rocks run below:
Tedeschi Trucks Band’s backstage rehearsal of Bob Dylan’s “Down Along The Cove” with Widespread Panic’s John Bell at Red Rocks:
Pro-shot footage of Tedeschi Trucks Band covering The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virginia” at Red Rocks with help from The Wood Brothers:
Along with the litany of exciting collaborations, this summer’s “Wheels of Soul” tour held a unique emotional significance for the band due the many legendary musicians who passed away earlier in the year. That list includes Dereks’ uncle Butch Trucks and Gregg Allman (both of whom Derek played for many years in the Allman Brothers Band) as well as “grandfather of the jam scene” Col. Bruce Hampton, who was sharing the stage with Trucks and scores of other musicians when he drew his final breath during the encore of his 70th birthday celebration in May. The band used the “Wheels of Soul” tour as a vehicle to cope with these losses, breaking out Allmans live staples like “Whipping Post,” “Ain’t Wastin No More Time,” and “Statesboro Blues” and dedicating a cover of Conway Twitty’s “Don’t Cry No More” to Col. Bruce during their performance at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre, where Hampton gave his now-legendary final performance.
“Performing is healing, for everyone on stage,” explains Trucks, “It’s important to get out and play; there is definitely something cathartic about it. You can feel it in the audience, too. People like Bruce and Butch and Gregg, they meant a lot to a lot of people. When you acknowledge those things and play that music, it helps a lot of people in a lot of ways.”
In addition to paying their respects to the fallen greats, the band also dedicated a performance of “Song For You” to their keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge, who was on leave from the band for the extent of the tour after suffering a heart attack earlier this summer but is expected to make a full recovery.
“Wheels of Soul” 2017 was also successful in its charitable efforts throughout the summer. As part of an initiative with the tour’s nonprofit partner, Craft for Causes, local craft brewers created a limited edition “Wheels of Soul”-themed beer in their taprooms for each of the tour’s stops. Proceeds from the sale of these local brews benefitted the Mr. Hollands Opus Foundation, a national nonprofit that works to promote and preserve music education and provide musical instruments to underprivileged youths. 40 different breweries hosted launch parties for their special “Wheels of Soul” brew in the month leading up to the performances, sporting clever names like “Butch’s Brown Ale,” “All That I Need,” and “Harmonious.” The Crafts for Causes van followed behind the tour busses throughout the run, driving 14,500 miles and covering 42 states, visiting 39 different breweries along the way.
Tedeschi Trucks Band will now take a brief hiatus from the road before heading back out for their 2017 Fall Tour beginning on September 15th in Birmingham, AL. The tour encompasses the band’s annual residency at the Beacon Theatre, which will include their milestone 25th performance at the storied Manhattan venue on Wednesday, October 11th. The rest of the band’s remaining schedule for the year includes performances in L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, and Portland, as well as a 2-night run in Seattle and a 3-night stand in Susan’s native Boston to cap a busy 2017. The band is also currently in the studio working on material for their next studio album, the follow-up to their acclaimed 2016 studio release, Let Me Get By, which Live For Live Music ranked among the best albums of 2016 in a year-end poll.
You can see a list of upcoming Tedeschi Trucks Band tour dates below. For more information, or to purchase tickets, head to the band’s website.
Upcoming 2017 Tedeschi Trucks Band Tour Dates:
9/15 Birmingham, AL Alabama Theatre +
9/16 New Orleans, LA Saenger Theatre
9/17 Little Rock, AR Robinson Center Music Hall +
9/21 Houston, TX Hobby Center #
9/22 Dallas, TX Music Hall at Fair Park #
9/23 Austin, TX ACL Moody Theater # sold out
10/6 New York, NY Beacon Theatre +
10/7 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
10/10 New York, NY Beacon Theatre %
10/11 New York, NY Beacon Theatre @
10/13 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
10/14 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
11/3 Portland, OR Keller Auditorium #
11/4 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre #
11/5 Seattle, WA Paramount Theater
11/7 Santa Barbara, CA Arlington Theatre &
11/9 San Diego, CA San Diego Civic Theatre #
11/10 Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre #
11/11 Los Angeles, CA Orpheum Theatre &
11/14 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre +
11/15 Phoenix, AZ Orpheum Theatre +
11/17 Oakland, CA Fox Theater #
11/18 Oakland, CA Fox Theater
11/30 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre @
12/1 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
12/2 Boston, MA Orpheum Theatre
+ with Greyhounds
# with Hard Working Americans
% with The Wood Brothers
@ with North Mississippi Allstars
& with David Luning
[Cover photo via Bill McAlaine]