Derek Trucks' First Coast News interview
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Derek Trucks, the Amadeus of slide guitar, talks about connecting, Layla, love myths and letting go.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville’s own venerable 12-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band is embarking on their “Wheels of Soul Tour 2022”. The first stop is Friday at Daily’s Place Amphitheater with Los Lobos and Gabe Dixon.

The husband-and-wife piloted Tedeschi Trucks collective has unveiled a bold four album project titled “I Am The Moon.” A quadruple affair, based on a mythic Persian love story.

The four albums each have a film accompaniment. That’s 24 new songs – over two hours of finely hewn celestial roots music featuring Derek Trucks, the Amadeus of slide guitar.

“I Am The Moon” albums are being released in successive months. The first installment “I. Crescent” came out June 3.

First Coast News spoke with Derek Trucks after a rehearsal:

When did you first discover the mythic Persian tale of star-crossed lovers that inspired the albums?

Derek Trucks: I was familiar with the “Layla and Majnun” story, but I had never read it. And that Derek and The Dominos record was such a big part of my life. Early in the pandemic lockdown our bandmate Mike Mattison had this idea of us all reading the same source material, just so we’re all thinking about the same thing and maybe we could just write some tunes chewing on the same overall concept. 

Derek Trucks: Mike’s thought was we had just finished doing that “Layla” record live at Lockn’ and he had the idea of looking at this in a different way. The original Dominos record, is one point of view, Layla as this love object. It’s his longing for someone he can’t have, and how it kind of drives you crazy and Mike brought up the idea, what did Layla think about this? What was her take on this story? That’s when the light bulb went on.

It was a joint effort. Early on, we all read the poem, me and Mike and Susan and Gabe Dixon and Tyler Greenwell, the writing core of the band. The language and imagery was so incredible and from difference perspectives so that there were tons of ideas. Once the whole gang was able to get down here to Jacksonville for writing sessions, there was just song ideas for days. It just kept coming.

Four albums is quite the undertaking. Was there ever a point in the process where you guys were like, “Why didn’t we just aim for one album??”

It was such a productive time and everybody was prolific. Before we knew it, we were 20-something songs in and we realized we had more than an album on our hands. We started thinking about it as episodes and even putting visuals with them. We said to ourselves, if we were ever going to do something big and crazy, now was the time to do it. 

Your playing is so elevated and transportational. Where does your musical intuition come from? Where does your mind go when you play? 

It’s hard to say what’s going on in my head when I play because the goal is really to let go and not be too into your head voice.

Specifically, do you ever imagine celestial cobwebs hanging in the sky? Please tell me there are some sort of celestial cobwebs in the sky of your soloing mind’s eye. If there aren’t, it might be time to get them in there.

Part of it for me is listening and connecting to the other musicians in the band and reacting to what they are doing. Some of my influences might pop up and I think that can add ideas in the moment. I’ll see what I can do about the celestial cobwebs.

TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND – I AM THE MOON: ALBUM + FILM RELEASE DATES:

I Am The Moon: II. Ascension

I Am The Moon: III. The Fall

I Am The Moon: IV. Farewell

Film Premiere: August 23rd

Album Release: August 26th

All Vinyl Configurations: individual LPs + the 4-LP Deluxe Box Available September 9th.

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