Joyful Noise – Derek Trucks Band
On August 6, 1995, this reporter got his first glimpse of Derek Trucks at
the HORDE fest as a member of Colonel Bruce Hampton's Fiji Mariners.
Obviously a talented player, Trucks was mostly stuck in the shadows while
Hampton sang about being in "Fijiland" and special guest John
Popper soloed in C for 15 minutes or so. A few days later, the jamband
scene would receive a cruel blow, but fate has been kinder to the young
Trucks. These days, he has a major label contract, a sizeable audience for
his own band and a position in the Allmans, and an enviable missus (Susan
Trucks's major label debut gets off to an auspicious start. The title cut, with
its near-subliminal Sly & The Family Stone chorus, is a nifty opener, and
"So Close, So Far Away," a ballad a bit like something from Jeff Beck's
Blow By Blow, is a melodic pleasure as well as a fitting vehicle for
Trucks's crying slide chops.
From there on out, Trucks's noise becomes dizzying eclectic yet
still joyful enough. In the middle of the disc, Trucks incorporates some world music flair through
collaborations with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Ruben
Blades. Three cuts later, he's in soulman mode backing a cameo from
Tedeschi. On the next track, his band veers into wacked-out Tony Williams
Lifetime-styled fusion with "Lookout 31".
Trucks and his band don't falter at any point, and the young slide man
displays a versatility that his ancestor from 30 years back would have
envied. One reason why many of us remember Duane so fondly, though, is that
he found a place in a band with a focused sound and something new to say.
Now that Trucks has gotten the gruntwork out of the way and shown us what he
can do, one hopes for him and his band to get something equally potent
together and create something distinctive for the new generation of