Riding his slide
Two projects, two careers – the perfect recipe for an identity crisis. Though Derek Trucks might lay down a melody easily, the man himself is a different story. The slide guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band comes to the Vilar Center Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with his pet project, The Derek Trucks Band.
“It’s crazy between the two bands, and a two-and-a-half- year old son,” said the musician during a quick interview before his tour of the Louisville Slugger factory and museum. “Things are changing so quick.”
The Derek Trucks Band is an improvisational project. They draw from jazz and blues traditions, they always put their own spin on things.
Trucks changed the direction of his life when, at age 9, he visited a yard sale. The only thing that piqued his interest was a $5 guitar, so he left with it. He learned to play it within a year, and was soon touring – at age 12. In 1999, his childhood heroes, The Allman Brothers, asked him to join them. Though he’d already begun The Derek Trucks Band, he decided to do it. He’s balanced the two touring schedules ever since.
“Being out with the Allman Brothers is so different,” he said. “I enjoy it, and there’s lots of freedom within the parameters – but there are definitely more parameters, especially with trying to keep a legacy alive. So when I get back to my band, it’s just so liberating. I love it.”
The last time the band was in Vail, they played at 8150. The show at the Vilar Center will be slightly different.
“We’ve been trying to get into more performance art theaters and centers, places where people are more interested in listening than drinking,” explained Trucks.
The group’s songs stand up to scrutiny, multi-layered as they are. That’s due in part to Trucks’ approach to what music can be. He sees it as one of the few roads to true community in today’s fragmented world.
“Every decade that I read about or know about, music was a huge part of any social movement,” he said. “You listen to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,’ during the Civil Rights movement – it was definitely something that kept people going. Instrumental music, too. You can get through to different races, different classes, different religions – there’s no words to get hung up on. It’s one of the few, if not only, art forms that’s really intangible. It’s one of those things that instead of drawing lines, you wipe them away.”
The band has been concentrating on writing; they plan on jumping in the studio for about 10 days this summer. Though “Joyful Noise” was their second release, it was actually recorded a couple years after an album called “Soul Serenade.” “Serenade” was mired in contract problems, and it seemed it would never see the light of day. But it was recently released and the band is pleased. The nonlinear path of their discography sits well with Trucks.
“We were happy with the record,” he said. “It’s just another step along the path. We have some really special moments at least once or twice every tour. We were just lucky to catch that in the studio – it can be hit or miss. We tour so hard, we come to enjoy the whole studio process. It’s more a lab or workshop. We get off on being able to experiment, work with sounds.”
Their approach to live shows is similar – no two concerts are ever the same.