The Swamp TV drone flew over the treetops to Trucks family barn before displaying a weathered, wooden pathway that zig-zagged through the surrounding marsh. The subsequent establish shot featured a yard lit up by warm, yellow Edison lightbulbs strung around palm trees on one side of the barn. Spanish moss dripped lazily from the palm trees reminiscent of the nearby Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida.
Just as they did for Fireside Sessions episode three, the stage was set inside Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi‘s family’s barn, where husband and wife duo welcomed viewers into their home studio for the fifth and penultimate episode of their ongoing at-home performance series on Thursday.
Derek and Susan opened Thursday’s webcast with “Day in the Sun”, an uplifting tribute to their late friend and fellow rock musician, Neal Casal. With fewer Tedeschi Trucks Band members joining the two bandleaders this week, Derek’s acoustic Gibson guitar and Susan’s voice were the only instruments played on the opening tune, which offered an intimate look into their creative chemistry through its barebones arrangement. Returning to the blues, Derek and Susan then revived a cover of “It Hurt’s Me Too”. The composition was first recorded by Tampa Red in 1941, but popular recordings also made by Elmore James in 1957, Chuck Berry in ’67, and more. As a world-famous slide guitar virtuoso, Trucks lived up to his reputation during the bleusy cover with his cherry Gibson SG and glass slide in hand while Susan ripped a nasty blues solo on her autographed aqua Fender Telecaster.
The first TTB original of the evening came with a “Do I Look Worried” off 2013’s Made Up Mind. Susan strummed a clean rhythm as Derek tore the song to pieces with his slide. He gave Susan a nod as her well-timed vocals brought the song to its conclusion.
Watch the opening three songs from Thursday’s webcast below.
Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Day in the Sun”, “It Hurts Me Too”, “Do I Look Worried” – 3/18/21
[Video: Tedeschi Trucks Band]
Next, the rockstar couple played the new original for just the second time since Fireside Sessions episode two, “Here My Dear”. Derek played the new song on his 1957 Goldtop Les Paul while Susan put her guitar down for the performance. Heart-wrenching and poignant, the recently unveiled song was selected as the opening introduction for all the Fireside Sessions.
To follow, Susan introduced the next song as Howlin’ Wolf’s “Down In the Bottom”. An establishing shot lingered on a face mask – omnipresent in these COVID times – hanging from a guitar cradle as the focus shifted to the famous Goldtop Les Paul nearly identical to the one played by the late Duane Allman. Susan clapped along to the beat as Derek honored the late blues pioneer with his otherworldly slide guitar sounds. The pair shared a laugh after Derek made a quick and unheard joke away from the microphone. Derek returned his guitar as Susan took a slug from a nearby mug and applied lip gloss before indicating that they were inspired by the Nina Simone version “Suzanne”. This marked just the second time that the Leonard Cohen song was performed by Derek and Susan after being debuted during episode two.
Returning to the TTB songbook, Susan picked up her teal Telecaster for an energetic rendition of “The Storm” before slowing it down for an emotional take on “Calling Out To You”. Both tracks appear in the same order to close out 2013’s Made Up Mind. Following “The Storm”, Susan admitted, “It feels weird without a band. Really missing the drummers. Missing Brandon Boone. Missing Falcon. C’mon! Where are you boys?”
Reflective shots of the thin crescent moon shining off the water set the tone for the beautiful composition that was written by Eric Krasno. Derek wielded his acoustic Gibson while Susan infused her soulful vocals into the slimmed-down mix. After the song, Derek and Susan gave a shoutout to Krasno’s Plus One podcast, and congratulated the guitarist for welcoming his baby, Louis Kofi Krasno, into the world.
With a simple thank you to Robert Zimmerman – better known as Bob Dylan – Susan launched into “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” accompanied by Derek’s slide. Susan noticeably glanced over at Derek with affection shining in her eyes and a loving smile on her face as she sang the lyrics “I once loved a man / a child I’m told.”
Derek remained seated while Susan stood up to belt out a cover of Fred Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin'”, though he paused while Susan’s vocals carried the harmonies into an alternate dimension. As her voice echoed and the music died down, Derek and Susan shared another chuckle.
To conclude the fifth and penultimate episode of their Fireside Sessions, Tedeschi picked up her acoustic guitar and dedicated their cover of Willie Nelson’s “Somebody Pick Up My Pieces” to “Willie, his wife, Annie, their family and the beautiful music they have given us over the years and for the fans out there.” Derek’s slide wound the song down and when the music ended while Susan addressed the audience, “Thank you so much everybody for joining us. We really appreciate all your love and support. We really miss being out on the road and seeing everybody’s beautiful faces. Look for us this coming spring hopefully, (as Derek crosses his fingers) we will be back out there. Much love and be safe.”
The band returns next Thursday (3/25) for the sixth and final episode of the Fireside Sessions video series–an appropriate name for the long quarantine that has extended the winter chill through spring, summer, and fall. The past year without live shows was brutal for music fans, and streams like these from a fan-favorite act in Tedeschi Trucks Band thawed the hearts and souls of many as Americans charge toward the brighter days ahead.
Thank you, Derek and Susan. You have captured our attention, resonated waves within our ears and brains, and raised our spirits once again. Until next week, stay well, folks.
Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band | Fireside Sessions Ep. 5 | 3/18/21
Set: Day in the Sun (Neal Casal cover), It Hurts Me To (Elmore James cover), Do I Look Worried, Here My Dear, Meet Me in the Bottom (Howlin’ Wolf cover), Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover), The Storm, Calling Out to You, Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (Bob Dylan cover), Everybody’s Talkin’ (Fred Neil), Somebody Pick Up My Pieces (Willie Nelson cover)