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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Derek Trucks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Derek Trucks. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Ruthie Foster 'Joy Comes Back' coming March 24th on Blue Corn Records

Derek Trucks, Willie Weeks, Joe Vitale, Warren Hood
among guests on songs by Chris Stapleton, Mississippi John Hurt,
Stevie Wonder and even Black Sabbath

AUSTIN, Texas — In the tightknit musical community of Austin, Texas, it’s tough to get away with posturing. You either bring it, or you don’t.
If you do, word gets around. Praises are sung. And one day, you find yourself duetting with Bonnie Raitt, or standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at New York’s Beacon Theater and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi. You might even wind up getting nominated for a Best Blues Album Grammy — three times in a row. In addition to your six Female Artist of the Year/Koko Taylor Blues Music Awards.  
There’s only one Austinite with that résumé: Ruthie Foster. And when she releases Joy Comes Back, her eighth Blue Corn Music album, on March 24, 2017, the Recording Academy might want to put its engraver on notice. Because every note on it confirms this truth: It’s Ruthie’s time.  
When she recorded these songs, Foster wasn’t merely singing about love and loss; she was splitting a household and custody of her 5-year-old daughter. Music was her therapy.  
In the warm confines of Austin producer and former neighbor Daniel Barrett’s studio, she found a comfort level she’d never before experienced while recording. It gave her the strength to pour the heartache of her family’s fracture and the cautious hope of new love into 10 incredible tracks, nine of which are by a diverse array of writers ranging from Mississippi John Hurt, Sean Staples and Grace Pettis (daughter of renowned folk singer Pierce Pettis), to Chris Stapleton and Black Sabbath. Yes, Black Sabbath: Foster reimagines “War Pigs” as a jam session with Son House. She also covers the Four Tops’ “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever,” written by Ivy Jo Hunter and Stevie Wonder.  
And she makes each one hers, aided by some special guests. Tedeschi’s husband, Derek Trucks, drops slide guitar into the title tune; bassist Willie Weeks (Bowie, Clapton, George Harrison) plays on the Foster-penned “Open Sky”; and drumming legend Joe Vitale (Crosby, Stills & Nash; the Eagles) appears on several tracks. Grace Pettis adds guitar to “Working Woman” and vocals on “Good Sailor,” Pettis’ co-write with Haley Cole. Local hero Warren Hood (“Champ Hood’s boy,” as Foster calls him) lays fiddle and mandolin on Hurt’s bluegrass-tinted “Richland Woman Blues.” Barrett plays guitars, drums and percussion; other contributors include Brian Standefer, Eric Holden, Frank LoCrasto, Nicholas Ryland and Red Young, as well as the core members of Ruthie’s touring band, Samantha Banks and Larry Fulcher.    
At one point, Barrett described the album to Hood as “some blues, some folk, some soul, some rock, some gospel.” Hood replied, “Sounds like Ruthie Foster music.”  
Exactly. And “Ruthie Foster music” is an adventurous trip, harboring in places where stylistic limitations don’t exist and anything is worth trying. Which explains how she can turn even a song she was initially unsure about, “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever,” into a gospel-pop tour-de-force that could make Aretha Franklin jealous. “Once in a while I get a song I just resist, but I go ahead and start feeling what it feels like to sing it,” Foster explains. “That was one of those songs; it just felt good to sing.”  
As for motivating herself in the studio if sparks don’t flash immediately, she says that’s been part of the job. “I go in, I’m prepared, I sing, and then I go home.” What she didn’t do in the past was hang out in the studio. Foster and Barrett had already spent many caffeine-fueled hours discussing music and life before recording; that continued as they worked — with occasional breaks to catch a loose neighborhood dog or entertain an ailing child. “Those small, real-life interruptions made it really nice for me,” she says. “They made it less like a job, which opened me up creatively.”  
They weren’t even planning an album at first; they’d just decided to work up some songs, starting with “Forgiven,” by the Weepies’ Deb Talan. A gorgeous, majestic and moving ballad, it’s the perfectly placed final track. “This song said so much about what I was going through,” Foster says softly. “To have it be the catalyst for this album was a gift.” She cried during the playback — for the first time in her career.  
That emotional nakedness is exactly what makes Joy Comes Back so extraordinary. On songs such as Pettis’ powerful “Good Sailor,” Foster, a Navy vet, plunged right into lines like I've been tossed around in the deepest blue/I almost drowned a time or two/But easy living never did me no favors/Smooth seas never made a good sailor.”  
“It’s written so well, I was upset that I hadn’t written it myself,” Foster says, laughing. When Pettis heard the track, she told Foster, “It’s your song now.” Foster also claimed Pettis’ “Working Woman,” a rousing soul anthem of empowerment — and righteous anger.  
She takes listeners to church on the gospel-soul title song, augmenting Staples’ lyrics with some of her own. When she told Barrett that in her childhood church, percussion was provided by the sisters’ tapping heels, he borrowed a neighbor’s high-heeled shoes and miked his well-aged oak floor. They banged away like kids.  
“War Pigs” reminded Foster of nights spent servicing Naval helicopters with guys who liked their heavy metal cranked to 11. But her version, with spectral harmonica by Simon Wallace, Barrett’s Porterdavis bandmate, is more elemental.  
“I wanted something unexpected that would be cool to do at festivals,” Foster says. “To get people out of their seats or tents to find out what the heck is that? Who is this little ol’ short black woman doing Black Sabbath on a resonator?”  
On past albums, Foster says, “It was about being a professional singer, a hallelujah-chorus girl. But I’m a real person, and relaying that through this music and the stories behind it is really important to me. I haven’t written much because it’s been rough for me to put pen to paper, but Dan, having spent at least a year and a half being a listener and witness to my life, found these songs that have a lot to do with where I was and where I am — and who I am.”  
For 2014’s Promise of a Brand New Day, producer Meshell Ndegeocello encouraged her to write originals. But a true artist can make any song his or her own, no matter who wrote it. And truly extraordinary artists do it so well that their version becomes definitive.  
“Putting myself into another person’s words was huge for me,” Foster says. “I connect more to my voice these days than I do to anything. Even speaking — that was something my grandmother worked with me on, because I would stutter. It was a big deal for me to connect to words as a young kid. So I’m coming full circle.”  
Adds Barrett, “It was one of the privileges of my artistic life, getting to watch an artist of her magnitude find her voice anew. You could drop her anywhere on earth and people would feel the truth in her voice.”  
That truth? It sounds like Ruthie Foster music.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tom Waits Streams New Track From Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album



Legendary artist Tom Waits is streaming his new recording of Soul Of A Man from the forthcoming album God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson at his Facebook page. Waits also recorded John The Revelator for the album.

The album -- to be issued on CD on February 26 and soon after on vinyl -- features newly recorded versions of the iconic slide guitarist/vocalist's most seminal material. In addition to Waits, Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Cowboy Junkies, Blind Boys Of Alabama (with Jason Isbell on guitar), Sinéad O'Connor, Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, Maria McKee, and Rickie Lee Jones all deliver deeply moving interpretations of Johnson's otherworldly "gospel blues" music.

Produced by Jeffrey Gaskill (producer of the twice Grammy-nominated compilation, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan), God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson highlights the music of one of the greatest and most influential slide guitarists and vocalists who ever walked the Earth. Johnson sang his sanctified gospel lyrics with overwhelming intensity, his deep, raspy voice accompanying his haunting, blues-drenched guitar playing. Rock fans will no doubt recognize many of his songs which have been recorded over the years by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan. Johnson's recording of John The Revelator was included in the Anthology Of American Folk Music, archivist Harry Smith's 6-LP collection released in 1952 that set the folk revival of the 1960s into motion. God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson is, according to Gaskill, "my life's work." The project was years in the making, and Gaskill is thrilled it's ready to be released. "You gotta serve somebody," he says, referencing his earlier compilation, "and I got the songs of Blind Willie Johnson."

Blind Willie Johnson, whose life remains shrouded in mystery, was born in Pendleton, Texas in 1897 and grew up around Marlin, Texas, He recorded a total of 30 songs between 1927 and 1930 for Columbia, leaving behind a priceless legacy of the unforgettable music he created by marrying the raw, gospel fervor of his voice with the steely blues fire of his guitar. His songs were mostly traditional or came from hymnals, but when Johnson performed them, he transformed them with his soul-shaking voice and amazing slide guitar. Johnson was among the best-selling black gospel artists of the era, but the Great Depression ended his recording career. He continued traveling as a street singer, moving between Dallas, Galveston, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and finally to Beaumont, where he thundered out his street corner evangelism, spreading his sacred message through his transfixing music. He died in 1945 in Beaumont, Texas at the age of 48.

God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson
1) The Soul Of A Man (Tom Waits)
2) It's Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Lucinda Williams)
3) Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning (Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi)
4) Jesus Is Coming Soon (Cowboy Junkies)
5) Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time (Blind Boys of Alabama)
6) Trouble Will Soon Be Over (Sinéad O'Connor)
7) Bye And Bye I’m Going To See The King (Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band)
8) God Don’t Never Change (Lucinda Williams)
9) John The Revelator (Tom Waits)
10) Let Your Light Shine On Me (Maria McKee)
11) Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground (Rickie Lee Jones)

Monday, July 27, 2015

JULY 24 rel-MUDDY WATERS 100 w/Johnny Winter, John Primer, Gary Clark Jr., Keb' Mo', Derek Trucks

 MUDDY WATERS 100 featuring

"Primer is a terrific singer; strong, strutting and just enough like his mentor Muddy to make these songs authentic but not a mirror image. The performances are spirited without a dud in all 15. And, perhaps most impressively, the sumptuous hardcover package with 48 heavy stock pages of rare photos and a beautifully penned essay from veteran music writer Robert Gordon is the definition of classy." (American Songwriter)

"a worthy tribute and a must for anyone who’s ever appreciated Waters’ sweeping influence. Meaning everybody." (Gatehouse Newspapers)

Chicago, IL - Raisin' Music Records proudly announces the release of "MUDDY WATERS 100" on JULY 24, 2015.

This officially authorized centennial tribute to Muddy Waters, "MUDDY WATERS 100" is a once-in-a-lifetime CD that celebrates, commemorates and contributes to the musical legacy of this American icon. Produced by 2X Grammy nominated producer Larry Skoller ("Heritage Blues Orchestra"/ "Chicago Blues: A Living History"), the CD is contained in a collectible CD-sized hard-cover book with 48 pages illustrated with black and white photography by some of the greatest photographers of Muddy's time. Also included is an original essay by Robert Gordon, Grammy-winning author of the definitive Muddy Waters biography "Can't Be Satisfied - The Life and Times of Muddy Waters".

"MUDDY WATERS 100" includes 15 newly recorded tracks featuring Muddy Waters Band alumni and many of today's most preeminent American blues and roots artists including JOHN PRIMER, GARY CLARK JR., JAMES COTTON, KEB' MO', JOHNNY WINTER, DEREK TRUCKS, BOB MARGOLIN, BILLY BRANCH and SHEMEKIA COPELAND backed by some of the greatest musicians on the Chicago blues scene including The Living History Band featuring Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith (drums -- son of longtime Muddy drummer Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith), Johnny Iguana (keyboards), Felton Crews (bass) and Billy Flynn (guitar).

Vocalist/guitarist JOHN PRIMER, who played with Muddy until his death in 1983, is recognized as one of today's most crucial keepers of the Chicago blues flame. For "MUDDY WATERS 100", Primer gives a deeply personal tribute to the man he knew so very well. Other distinguished Muddy Waters alumni on this recording include harmonica legend JAMES COTTON and guitarist BOB MARGOLIN (who played alongside Muddy for 7 years and was very close to the man and his music. The late great blues guitarist/producer JOHNNY WINTER played on the song "I'm Ready" for this album just a few weeks before he passed away in July 2014. ("I'm Ready" is the title track from Muddy's Grammy-winning album produced by Winter back in 1978 -- one of two albums that Winter produced for Muddy in the late '70s. Cotton & Margolin also played on the Winter-produced "I'm Ready" album). Along with Muddy alumni, this gathering of some of the most preeminent blues and roots artists of today makes this tribute truly a landmark celebration. Billy Branch, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Keb Mo' and Derek Trucks embody the spirit of this project: that for a tradition to survive, it must be passed on through generations and must remain in a constant state of evolution by redefining itself in a contemporary context. By pushing the boundaries of this music, as Muddy did in his time, and with their own original voices and stories, these artists are helping to give the blues its future.

It could be argued that Muddy Waters has had more influence on the sound of American popular music than any other single artist of the 20th century. "MUDDY WATERS 100" is a centennial celebration of his musical legacy, his iconic sound and his immeasurable contribution to and influence on American music. Driven by a deep respect for this master of the blues and for the blues traditions that spawned his talent, "MUDDY WATERS 100" tributes the past, embraces the present and recognizes the bright future of the blues for which Muddy paved the way. In the spirit of his legacy, "MUDDY WATERS 100" puts the spotlight on the inextricable mix of old and new school that Muddy left in his wake. The newly recorded songs on this album represent the various periods and styles of Muddy's musical path, from his 1941 recordings on Stovall plantation in Mississippi to his arrival in Chicago and subsequent evolution during the 1940s and 1950s, including his pioneering electric guitar sound at the Chess Records studios. By design, this album has not taken a strictly archival approach in its treatments of Muddy's songs. Some tracks are handled traditionally; there are also contemporary treatments and new arrangements that focus on today's sounds. Whether it be rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, the tube electronics of the earliest five-watt amplifiers or digital samples, drum loops and electronica -- in one way or another these sounds all lead back to Muddy Waters.

"Muddy Waters would be a hundred years old today…The whole story of the blues can be heard, felt, and learned in the life of Muddy Waters…Born April 4, 1915…in the soggy part of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, this mannish boy would soon move north in the delta with his grandmother to Stovall Farms, near where the train lines crossed in Clarksdale, and from there to Chicago. He absorbed the rhythm and feel of the south until it was part of his bones, electrifying that sound in the industrial north. His 1958 trip to England planted ideas there that would awaken America to its indigenous sounds. Muddy's music ignited a cultural revolution...from the brutal and fertile fields of Mississippi, he changed the world. The tiller of the soil became the definer of a nation, the symbol of freedom. Muddy's achievement is emblematic of American democracy, the ultimate triumph of the dirt farmer, bringing respect to the disrespected. He did it with his guitar and with his voice, touching emotions that touched traditions. A century has passed, but we are still building on the foundation that Muddy Waters established, his sound and style still going strong. His influence is everywhere around us." (from Robert Gordon's liner notes essay)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blind Willie Johnson all-star album in the works...


Salute to legendary gospel singer-guitarist Blind Willie Johnson,
 with new recordings by Tom Waits, Sinead O’Connor,
Lucinda Williams, Luther Dickinson, Cowboys Junkies, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Blind Boys of Alabama and Rickie Lee Jones, is a Kickstarter project in the works.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Johnson's music was charred with purgatorial fire — more than sixty years later, you can still
smell the smoke on it.—Francis Davis, The History of the Blues 

More than 60 years after his death, Blind Willie Johnson continues to capture listeners in a way that few singers or musicians have equaled. The list of artists he has influenced goes back to Robert Johnson and forward to the White Stripes. The most obviously indebted would include several generations of hard country gospel singers, from the Blind Boys of Alabama to the Staple Singers, and the most soulful and virtuosic slide guitarists, from Mississippi Delta bluesmen to Ry Cooder.

Raising $125,000 in 30 days for an album of new recordings celebrating the music of Blind Willie Johnson is a risk that music producer Jeffrey Gaskill finds completely worthwhile. “I think when Blind Willie Johnson sat down in the recording studio in the late ’20s he understood the importance of posterity, that he was recording something to be heard by future generations. Today, his music is on a spaceship representing mankind in outer space and yet many of his recordings are virtually unknown.” But Gaskill realizes, “It’s a labor of love that will not be supported by a record label; God Don’t Never Change will
only happen if it’s going to be funded by appreciators of good music.”

According to the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, “It would be impossible to list every musician influenced by Blind Willie Johnson, because it would require mentioning almost everyone who ever listened to one of his records.” In
his time, Johnson was considered a singing gospel preacher. Today, he is called a “holy bluesman,” reflecting all of the blues and rock fans and musicians who have been inspired by his work. Either way, there is no more compelling voice in early American music. His music lives on, both in the gospel world and in genres he never could have imagined, and it is
a fitting honor that his legacy be saluted and carried forward into the 21st century.

In order to raise enough money to fund the project, a group of rare and collectible items are available for sale. The
fundraiser’s crown jewels include The Blind Pilgrim Collection, a set of five, unique handcrafted cigar-box
guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s 1930s Marlin, Texas home. For sale individually, the guitars are a limited, numbered set exclusively for this effort.

The Kickstarter fund raising effort begins on October 16 and ends on November 16, 2013.

The project features several rewards for investors at several levels. One-of-a-kind collectibles, content exclusives, and premiums for backers of the album include:

· Backer-only “making-of-the-album” video updates
· Exclusive CD version of the album
· Limited-edition Blind Willie Johnson T-shirts
· Set of two 180-gram LPs in a gatefold package (includes re-mastered, original Blind Willie Johnson recordings)
· Limited, signed and numbered art prints
· Box set in a hardbound case that includes 10” vinyl 33 RPM singles for each track, with a
new recording on one side and the original Johnson recording on the flipside
· Advance digital download of the new album two weeks before release
· Hand-crafted cigar-box guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s Texas home Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-or-nothing” funding model so if the Blind Willie Johnson project doesn’t reach its goal at the end of the 30 days the
recording won’ happen.

The project can be followed on

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator - Release review

Another in a series of releases that I believe are noteworthy which weren't sent to me for review, Revelator by the Tedeschi Trucks Band is as fine a contemporary R&B/ blues release as you're likely to hear. When slide guitarist extrordinaire, Derek Trucks determined to pair up with his wife, blues guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi it was a marriage literally made in heaven. Tedeschi has a sassy vocal that lends itself really nicely to R&B and blues/pop music and Trucks, like many of the great players of our times needs a musical vehicle to express his art. Opening with Come See About Me, a funky pop track with really strong vocals, key work, great rhythm and hot hot slide work! Don't Let Me Slide has a bit of formatting like some of the earlier Allmans work but again with Tedeschi's silky vocals and super harmonies. It is nearly impossible for Trucks to play on any recording without being noticed as his sound is so his signature...and that is great. Midnight In Harlem is a soul style ballad really well suited for Tedeschi's vocal style and Trucks plays beautifully in concert playing solo's so characteristically like Duane Allman capping an ending over 40 years ago. Bound For Glory, another pop/R&B style track showing again how nicely Trucks and Tedeschi have teamed up to make a great good than both separately. Trucks has the talent to be on of the greatest guitar players of his times. Like so many before him, it's the stimulus that takes him higher. Whether it's the hard driving blues of Elmore James when playing with the Allmans or as the sharp foil of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, he has definitely come into his own! Ball and Chain is a solid bluesy ballad with smooth vocal harmonies and an interesting organ effect sounding like a calliope against the earthy slide work of Trucks. Learn How To Love hits like a hammer (think ... When The Levy Breaks). This is a hot track with Tedeschi at her sassiest and Trucks off the leash. Splaying open his notes like a fisherman with his fresh catch, Trucks cuts and dices on this track with fat girth and slashing leads... terrific! Wanna get your groove on? Shrimp and Grits is a smooth jazz groove bound to get your head boppin and your butt squirmin. Love Has Something Else To Say is a hot jazz influenced R&B style track with cool Billy Preston like keyboard riffs. Wah wah guitar riffs keep the track flowing and very uncharacteristic jazz guitar riffs float to the surface. Vocal duets with Tedeschi gives her a chance to show her versatility and funky guitar riffs are traded with sax runs making this a very interesting change in pace. The release is completed by Shelter,  a very sultry vocal ballad which could be the most likely broad airplay track on the release. Vocal harmonies, strong writing, musical hook and of course hair raising slide work from Trucks makes this my recommendation for the large audience appeal. This is a very strong release exhibiting broad appeal without sacrificing art, interest and quality. Super job!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Key To the Highway - Tedeschi Trucks Band

I'm sure that everyone knows now that Derek and Susan got married a while back. It could turn into a decent thing for the music industry. I personally prefer Derek's work away from his personal band and particularly like his work with the Allmans as well as with Buddy Guy (with Tedeschi). Here's Derek's band with Susan sitting in.

"Key to the Highway" is usually credited to Charles "Chas" Segar and William "Big Bill" Broonzy. As Broonzy explains: "Some of the verses he [Charlie Segar] was singing it in the South the same time as I sung it in the South. And practically all of blues is just a little change from the way that they was sung when I was a kid ... You take one song and make fifty out of it ... just change it a little bit."

Charlie Segar's original "Key to the Highway" was done in the form of a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues. When Jazz Gillum recorded it later that year (featuring Big Bill Broonzy on guitar), he changed the melody and the arrangement to an eight-bar blues, as it is now usually known (May 9, 1940 Bluebird B 8529). A year later, Broonzy recorded "Key to the Highway" utilizing Gillum's arrangement and melody, creating the best known of the early versions of the song (May 2, 1941 OKeh 6242). In 2010, Broonzy's version of "Key to the Highway" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame "Classics of Blues Recordings" category.

My personal introduction was through Derek and the Dominos and I doubt anyone will ever top it with Duane on slide...but Derek is a fine fine player!
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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Little Wing - Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton

This may be the nicest of all Jimi songs. As you probably all know, it was made more popular yet by Derek and the Dominos, a project that Eric Clapton was doing on the side when he met Duane Allman. Inside the circle it is widely known that it was Allmans guitar playing that made the recordings so outrageous. If you know the recordings, you know what I mean. If not, Layla is one of the worst songs on the cd. Check out the dueling guitars throughout and the nice finesse that the two guitar kings make together. A must have cd for any contemporary blues lover.

This is a nice tribute with heir to the slide throne, Derek Trucks. Oh, and Warren Haynes is no slouch either...more on him later.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trouble No More

I was a huge fan of Duane Allman. When Duane Allman died, the life of the Allman Brothers died. They continued on playing tunes previously done with numerous guitar players trying to fill the bill and even with success under the direction of more country oriented Dicky Betts... but the Allman Brothers have new life with the young blood of original member Butch Trucks nephew Derek on slide. Wail on Derek. He has breathed new life into the band. Check out Allman Brothers live at the Beacon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tribute to Elmore

I'm sure that Derek Trucks and Bob Margolin need no introduction. It's great to see them play a fine tribute to Elmore James.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Duane Allmans Gold Top

A great piece of blues history is back on the stage. Tedeschi Trucks Band plays a sold-out Center Stage in Atlanta. Check out Derek playing Duane Allman's Gold Top Les Paul. Check the bands site for photos.