Right from the start, the latest album from the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Made Up Mind, smacks you with a fast-paced blues shuffle and the soulful singing of Susan Tedeschi. Hitting the ground groovin’, your first instinct will be to turn up the volume. Good thing too, because Derek Trucks’ slide guitar solo in the opening title track will raise you up to the heavens and force you to testify!
For loyal fans, the plateaus of the Tedeschi-Trucks Band’s second studio album should come as no surprise. TTB’s take on the blues has an almost-gospel feel to it- almost, because Trucks must have sold his soul to the devil. That’s the only conceivable explanation for his tremendous guitar-playing.
What will come as a surprise, however, is the range that the band exhibits on Made Up Mind. After Revelator (2011) won the Grammy award for Best Blues Album in 2011, the band spent two years on the road, cultivating a more diverse musical experience. “Idle Wind,” for example, features a combination flute-guitar duet that propels the song majestically. “Calling Out to You” is an acoustic-guitar-only ballad that allows Tedeschi to showcase her dynamic vocals.
The only problem with Made Up Mind is that Derek Trucks is simply not featured enough! Sure, he has some amazing moments, particularly in “The Storm” and “All That I Need,” but other songs, like “Sweet And Low” and “Whiskey Legs,” could benefit from additional servings of break-out Trucks guitarwork.
All in all, this is a solid album. The production value is through the roof, and the songwriting has clearly evolved in complexity. Between Susan Tedeschi’s commanding voice and Derek Trucks’s ethereal guitar sound, this blues-power couple has worked tirelessly to provide fans with a rich collection of new material. If anything, Made Up Mind has cemented the Tedeschi-Trucks Band’s place as a top-notch performing artist, and, when TTB comes to play the Beacon, you know where I’ll be…