Next week, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings begin one of the summer's biggest tours. The two groups – plus opener Doyle Bramhall II – aren't playing stadiums or arenas, but they're both bringing double-digit ensembles that could crowd even the country's largest stages.
"There's not many groups that travel with bands carrying that many people on the road at our level," says guitarist Derek Trucks. "Most bands that have 10, 12 people, they're drawing twice as many fans and the finances are different. It's a labor of love when you're doing small theaters."
For this reason, Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi (who sings and plays guitar) sought out an opener who they'd want to both hear every night and hang out with between shows. In Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, they found their perfect match, another collection of old souls fronted by a strong woman with an incredible voice. Here, watch them sing an unplugged version of Sam Cooke's "Bring It on Home to Me," accompanied by Bramhall, Mark Rivers and Mike Mattison backstage after a warm-up gig in Central Park:
"I remember seeing Susan for the first time and being struck just with how powerful she was," Trucks says. "Really from the beginning, I was thinking that I'd love to record or put a band together with her. Then we ended up getting married, having two kids. . .10 years go by and you realize, 'We should take a stab at this.'"
For the next two months, Trucks is traveling not just with his kids – who will be on summer vacation – but also his parents, who will help with both babysitting and selling merch. After years of jumping between multiple projects, he's enjoying the chance to focus on one group, spending time with his family and friends as they work through new and old songs.
"There was one point where between the Allman Brothers and the Phil Lesh thing and the solo band and the Clapton tour, it was a lot of juggling and a lot of changing hats," he continues. "Now we're working on a record, and it's been really nice to just live with it. It's the first time I've been able to do that as an adult, and I gotta say, it's pretty liberating."
The Tedeschi Trucks Band's Wheels of Soul Summer Tour begins June 5th in Paso Robles, California and continues until August 4th, when it comes to a conclusion in Lewiston, New York. See the full schedule here.