Guitarist Derek Trucks is an amiable guy, armed with a ready laugh. Then again, he's got plenty of reasons to smile. He's the nephew of longtime Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks. He's amply employed, both as a regular member of the aforementioned Allman Brothers and as co-leader of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, the sprawling eleven-piece group he co-helms with his wife, blues singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi. What's more, when Eric Clapton is looking for a sparring partner, Trucks gets the call. To top it off, he lives with his wife and kids in what appears to be a perfect model of domestic tranquility.
No wonder then that the good vibes seem to emanate so naturally.
His band is headlining the inaugural Sunshine Blues Festival which makes its debut in Fort Myers, then heads to Boca Raton and St. Petersburg. "We thought it would be fun to do a festival with bands that we would want to sit out front and watch all day," Trucks explains the impetus for the affair. New Times spoke with the gifted and fortunate Trucks about working alongside his wife and starting at the top.
New Times: How did you coordinate all the schedules?
Derek Trucks: You just have to start early, maybe a year out or so, and you have to put a wish list together, and then start at the top and work through it. And starting at the top doesn't always mean the biggest names, it means the people you really want. We were lucky. Sometimes it doesn't always work out. We were kind of testing the waters with this to see if it was something we can make work and make fly and maybe turn it into something more.
You could do something like in the Festival Express movie where they put a bunch of bands on a train and they traveled from one end of Canada to another. That would be fun.
Oh, yeah. We talked about that too. We did a tour of Europe with our band where we did it by train. That's an eleven-piece band with a crew of twenty people. We took over a whole train car. It got rowdy a few times, and it made me think that a traveling festival could be fun. (laughs)
It sounds like you're already having a lot of fun. You play these incredible gigs, at the White House, at the U.N., with all these incredible musicians. You must be on cloud nine.
It's been an amazing run. When we put this band together, we definitely had high hopes for it, but it's definitely exceeded what we hoped for. It's an amazing start. Being able to play music you love, to play with people you like being around, is definitely hard to beat. There's a lot of hard work, and you're wrangling a lot of people and things happen, but in the end, it's a good day's work. (laughs)
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