After opening their Fireside Sessions at-home virtual performance series last month with a quartet lineup of Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell, and Brandon Boone, followed by the second installment which featured six Tedeschi Trucks Band members (the core four of TTB plus Gabe Dixon and Mike Mattison), fans were treated to a pleasant surprise of the husband and wife duo setup starring Trucks and Tedeschi during Thursday’s episode three webcast.
The now-familiar drone footage introduction for the series transported the audience from the tops of the trees to the outside of the Tedeschi/Trucks family barn, a space that has been converted into the band’s private studio. Although the den and roaring fire were left behind this week, the couple’s studio provided a refreshing change of setting for the third installment of the ongoing series which welcomed viewers into their personal workshop where the music that fans know and love is birthed, developed, and refined.
As the Nugs audience settled in for another incredible block of music on Thursday, Derek Trucks wasted no time in carving out sections of handiwork with his renowned glass slide guitar and cherry Gibson SG combination that built up into “When Will I Begin” to start the performance. The original from 2019’s Signs soared through the screen, and was notably performed at the band’s second to last live show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville this time last year. Trucks then swapped out guitars for a rare cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Got the Silver”. Armed with his trademark slide, capo, and custom hollow-bodied guitar rig, Trucks added some appropriate metallic tones to the song’s harmonies for the cover. Fans should note that Tedeschi Trucks Band has only covered this song seven times from their time on the road together.
After the song, Susan indicated it has been nine months since their last gig, which would mean that this particular session was recorded sometime around November/December 2020. Derek then warmed up his scarcely utilized vocal cords to describe the influence of blind singer Paul Pena along with a documentary about the late musician, Genghis Blues. For the second consecutive week, the pair aced a cover of Pena’s “Gonna Move”, the opening track on Pena’s second album, 1973’s New Train (which was also included on Tedeschi’s second solo album, 2002’s Wait for Me).
A slow pan showcasing the surrounding swamp epitomized the peaceful environment that houses the family’s private sanctuary was interrupted by Trucks when he began to shred through a scorching slide introduction for “Made Up Mind”. Although TTB has performed this song nearly 300 times, never has there been a rendition like this one. With additional space to fill and roam, Derek and Susan proved that they don’t need any help creating their characteristic sound.
Prior to the start of the next song, Derek – I’m still surprised whenever he talks – explained how their absence from the gig and road life has allowed them to spend more time writing, and that a new album is around the corner. Derek wrote the next song as an instrumental and then sent it to Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, who according to Trucks, “Had some ideas and filled in the rest.” Derek indicated that the song “May be on their upcoming record,” to which Susan responded “I think it will. It’s a beautiful song.”
Without further ado, Derek and Susan launched into the debut of “Smiling On Me”, a heartwarming song about unconditional love and companionship through good times and bad. After the dust settled and Derek changed guitars in favor of his Gibson Les Paul, Susan introduced the next song in saying, “This next one is an old blues tune. It’s a Robert Johnson song. If you’re a lover of the blues, you’re gonna love this song. If not, then get with it, cause it’s history.”
As Susan finished speaking, Derek’s piercing guitar cut through the silence with a bone-chilling slide introduction to Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues”. A lone Edison lightbulb with a mossy wood tree trunk behind was on display as Susan introduced a cover of Cowboy’s “All My Friends”. The tune has only been covered nine times by TTB since its debut two days after the passing of Scott Boyer during a show at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, NJ on Valentine’s Day 2018. Another exterior shot of the barn set the stage for “Whiskey Legs”, another original from the band’s 2013’s Made Up Mind album. The performance featured one of the highlights of the set with the married rock musicians exchanging lightning solos, passing the jam baton back and forth like a bottle of hot sauce at suppertime.
Both guitarists took time afterward to retune their instruments – Susan with her autographed aqua Telecaster and Derek with his Cherry red Gibson SG – as Derek then retold the story about one of the best moments they had in the studio when their late bandmate Kofi Burbridge included a solo amidst a Mike Mattison composition that was being played alongside a string quartet from the Jacksonville Symphony. Derek dedicated the performance of the next song “Strengthen What Remains” (another track from 2019’s Signs) to Kofi.
Returning to his early roots in the Allman Brothers Band, Derek then dished out an energetic take on Elmore James’ “Done Somebody Wrong” that was empowered by Susan’s soulful vocals.
As Susan introduced the next song, the video transitioned to a wooden pathway through the property that looked ideal for some thinking, alligator hunting, or both.
“The next song is a song that Derek wrote on acoustic,” her voice was heard saying while introducing the Derek Trucks Band original. “The kids were little and were climbing on him. He had this really pretty song with no words, lyrics, or melody. He gave it to Warren Haynes and Warren basically took it, in one night, had all the verses ready to go. He did a beautiful job writing the song with Derek. This is called ‘Back Where I started’. I really like this song. Hi, Warren! Wherever you are.”
Susan’s vocals and Derek’s pastoral guitar wove together with the potential to spiritually heal with their swamp gospel on the song, which has only been played 12 times over the years by TTB.
Derek and Susan brought the third Fireside Sessions to a close with a performance of “Anyhow”, the opening track from 2016’s Let Me Get By album. The session’s finale featured a lengthy slide solo from Derek that rose higher and higher until the echoing reverbs were all that remained.
After the credits acknowledged the evening’s performers. (the full band, management team, Nugs.tv crew, and special thanks) the video returned to show Susan fixing Derek’s hair and brushing off the front of his shirt–a real loving exchange, and Derek was all smiles.
Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Fireside Sessions returns next Thursday (March 11th) with an unknown cast of players for the lineup. If the trend continues, I, for one, hope to see a show in their kitchen next time. Thank you, Derek and Susan, for another incredible night of music. Your music makes us all feel a little closer together and a little less alone. Until next week, folks.
Rewatch the opening performances from the third installment of Derek and Susan’s Fireside Sessions series in the video below.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – Fireside Sessions Ep. 3- 3/4/21
[Video: Tedeschi Trucks Band]
Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band | Fireside Sessions | 3/4/21
Set: When Will I Begin, You Got the Silver (The Rolling Stones cover), Gonna Move (Paul Pena cover), Made Up Mind, Smiling On Me*, Walking Blues (Robert Johnson cover), All My Friends (Cowboy cover), Whiskey Legs, Strengthen What Remains, Done Somebody Wrong (Elmore James cover), Back Where I Started, Anyhow
* First Time Played