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 at Elsewhere articles index

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

From the haunting opener Spirit I Am though to the country-blues reworking of the old Civil Rights song Stayed On Freedom which closes this exceptional collection, this 57-year old, Helsinki-based... > Read more

CHAMPION JACK DUPREE REMEMBERED: Seconds out of the ring . . .

CHAMPION JACK DUPREE REMEMBERED: Seconds out of the ring . . .

Blues pianist Champion Jack Dupree could always upset a few expectations. While his few remaining colleagues in the old blues game disavowed alcohol, Dupree told me in 1988 -- when he was... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

The Rolling Stones have had quite a marketing profile in their 40th-anniversary year: the reissue of all their early albums through to the mid 70s; the 40 Licks double-disc hit-stacked compilation;... > Read more

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven (YepRoc)

The former Blaster (a band he shared with his brother Phil) has been delivering his earthy, rootsy blues out there on the road for decades now. He was briefly in X and the Gun Club, but mostly he's... > Read more