A growl from Susan Tedeschi. The sweet soul of Derek Trucks’ slide guitar. The two powerful calls are hallmarks of the Tedeschi Trucks Band sound, fueled by the soulful passion of its namesakes. They’re also the stand-alone sounds that introduce Let Me Get By, the band’s third album, due out January 29th.
While Derek and Susan comprise the heart of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the group is an immersive unit of twelve gifted musicians, operating on a singular wavelength of musical fusion. Impressively, the band manages to capture their all-encompassing sound with the sweet tones of Let Me Get By, as the remaining ten members join Tedeschi and Trucks on the opening track, “Anyhow.” The tension builds to a head, with triumphant horns blaring, Tedeschi’s vocals howling, and Trucks’ song-ending solo setting the track ablaze.
The sound of Tedeschi Trucks Band is hard to define. Songs like “Laugh About It” and “Hear Me” capture the band’s raw gospel emotion, while others like “Don’t Know What It Means” take a funkier, bluesy direction. Still others, like the Mike Mattison-sung “Right On Time” hit in the jazz standard realm, carried along by a swinging rhythm and lounge-style trombone playing. The world music influences find a voice on “Crying Over You/Swamp Raga” as well, gracefully floating with Trucks’ acoustic guitarwork and flute playing from Kofi Burbridge.
Despite the various influences, no point in the record feels inauthentic. Each song is a unique artistic expression, expertly crafted to stir us to our souls. Perhaps the authenticity comes from the recording process, as the album was cut at the band’s home studio near Jacksonville, FL. Perhaps it comes from the group’s open-minded approach to songwriting, as the entire band was involved in the album’s creative direction. It’s a far cry from the band’s 2013 release, Made Up Mind, which felt almost one-directional at times. By embracing and exploring their many roots, the Tedeschi Trucks Band have truly found their own voice on Let Me Get By.
“In every soul there’s a song, so sing along,” cries Susan Tedeschi in the song’s final track, “In Every Heart.” The uplifting lyrics leap from the album into our hearts, as the band tugs on the strings just one last time. Let Me Get By is something pure, something righteous. It’s the coming together of a powerful musical force, subtly manipulating our emotions throughout. It takes the devout listener on a soul-satisfying journey, coming across with unadulterated passion, and it feels oh so right.
Fortunately, the experience doesn’t have to end after the hourlong album comes to a close. If you’re anything like me, you just clicked “Anyhow” again and started it from the top…
[Stream courtesy of WSJ]