Susan Tedeschi: Back to the River (Universal)

 |   |  1 min read

Susan Tedeschi: Back to the River
Susan Tedeschi: Back to the River (Universal)

This raw and soaring blues-rock singer and guitarist has been mentioned in Elsewhere dispatches recently, but only as the wife of slide guitarist Derek Trucks.

Very much her own person however, she opens this album with a full throated attack of the kind that has rarely been in rock music since the late Janis Joplin. In an age of coy and infantile women singers who come on like coquettish teenagers, Tedeschi lets you know immediately that she is A Grown Woman.

Certainly she gets help from Derek and various members of their collective band, but all bar one song here (a cover of Allen Toussaint's There's A Break in the Road) are originals or co-writes by Tedeschi -- and with some impressive company: Jayhawk Gary Louris, Tony Joe White on the funky, Stevie Wonder/Hendrix-styled title track and John Leventhal among them. 

If you judge someone by the company they keep . . .

The waterlogged spirit of New Orleans post-Katrina is here in the slow 700 Houses, elsewhere things slew neatly through Southern blues Allman Brothers style (makes sense given Trucks plays in that band), nods to the earthy sound of Etta James, early Tina Turner and the like -- and of course that wandering spirit of Janis Joplin.

My guess after interviewing Trucks was that there was a keen intelligence and conscience in that man's soul and Tedeschi's People ("TV screens and corrupt magazines, a man on the radio who thinks he knows what you need") and Revolutionize Your Soul here suggests some similarly deep sense of social responsibility.

If a few of the songs don't have a more clear form and indulge in a bit of guitarism, and it peters out towards the end, that takes nothing away from the core of a fine and challenging album, and a voice that can drive in lead-head nails from the far corner of a stadium I am guessing.

I think we need to see her -- and her husband -- live. 

 

 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

In Clarksdale, Mississippi I saw a singer/guitarist who called himself Howl N Mudd, which was certainly a man covering his bases. (That story is here.) The juke joint he played in was very popular... > Read more

Big Daddy Wilson: Love is the Key (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Big Daddy Wilson: Love is the Key (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

Singer Wilson from North Carolina is yet another of those US blues (and jazz) artists who found a more sympathetic and profitable environment in Europe and these days operates out of Germany... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (1980)

The Feelies: Crazy Rhythms (1980)

Pub quiz time and your starter for 10 points: Who was the drummer in Talking Heads? “Okay there was David Byrne and . . . Tina Weymouth on bass and . . . Any of you guys know?”... > Read more

TEAK LEAVES AT THE TEMPLES: A film where free jazz and traditional Javanese music meet

TEAK LEAVES AT THE TEMPLES: A film where free jazz and traditional Javanese music meet

On the face of it, there would seem little common ground between European free jazz and the traditional music and Buddhist culture of Java. But for Aucklander Winston Marsh -- co-producer of... > Read more