Backyard JAX, Eagle Overhead

by | Feb 5, 2009

David Fricke of Rolling Stone has been jamming out to Derek Trucks’s latest release, Already Free.

The record was made at Trucks’ new studio, behind his home in Jacksonville, Florida, and features songs Trucks wrote there with fellow Allman Brothers guitarist Warren Haynes, and guitarist Doyle Bramhall II, Trucks’ bandmate in Eric Clapton’s touring group over the last two years. Bramhall also sings and plays on the album. The Trucks-Haynes acoustic hymn “Back Where I Started” is a geniuine family affair: Trucks’ wife, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi, is the featured vocalist, Trucks plays the Indian sarod in a striking Delta-blues bottleneck style and Trucks’ brother Duane plays cardboard-box percussion.

Fricke, who is the consummate music critic, says this new album has hints of Dixie Chicken by Little Feat and Brothers and Sisters by The Allman Brothers. The album opens with what Fricke calls “a crunchy cover of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes song ‘Down in the Flood.'” I don’t know if crunchy is the word that comes to mind. I’m listening to the track now, and it’s sultry, yet nourishing like the humid air of north Florida.

The second track, “Something to Make You Happy” could easily have been the title track. It’s classic DTB. Vocalist Mike Mattison delivers the soul, the band brings the funk and Derek tears it up.

After Songlines, DTB fans had to wonder if the band could ever rise that high again. It’s too early for this fan to say, but the fact Already Free is a contender out of the box is saying a lot.

[MP3 Offering] “Something to Make You Happy” by Derek Trucks Band