In between touring Japan, winning a Grammy, performing for the Obamas and playing The Apollo, Derek Trucks found some time in February to produce and complete a new live album: Everybody’s Talking, due May 22nd. For the first live release with his latest musical embodiment, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Trucks called in legendary mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig, who took home a Grammy of his own this year for his work with The Derek and the Dominoes Layla re-issue. Ludwig and Trucks combed through 12 shows from TTB’s recent tour, all of which were recorded almost entirely with gear from Trucks’ home studio.
“Every night, we’d get off stage and I’d take the setlist and just take little notes,” Trucks says. “If there were certain songs that I thought were great or ones that I thought were below the line of being usable, I’d mark it … Some of it was just, you kind of have a feeling when you walk off stage. You know when it’s right.” Oddly enough, the show that proved most musically fruitful was the only one that almost never was.
“Bridgeport [Connecticut] was about to be canceled … It was the last show of the tour and there was a big snow and ice storm … It was sold out, but I think only about 60-70 percent of the crowd was even able to make it because most of the power in the town was shut down. It was one of those shows that nearly didn’t happen, but then when you finally hit the stage, you’re just happy to be playing. There was a real loose feeling to it, which ended up being great. We used a lot of stuff from that night.”
As for the title of the album, Everybody’s Talking stems from the band’s cover of the tune, a hybrid of Harry Nilsson and Bill Withers versions. “I think it’s the only song on the record that’s under eight minutes, so if there is a single, that would be it,” he laughs. “That tune, we thought, was a highlight of the new tunes that we recorded this tour. And you know, you can see the buzz with the band in the last six months, so it’s kind of a nod to that, too.”
Trucks has spent March in New York performing with the Allman Brothers Band 10-show Beacon Theatre run, which began March 9th and ended March 25th. “When we first got in, you know, it takes a minute … It’s like an old car, getting it revved up [laughs]! Once it fires up, it’s pretty amazing. Right when you feel like it’s not going to go, it goes!” With Gregg Allman recovering from various health issues, including a bulging disc that forced him to sit out the end of the run, the band is taking a different approach this year, honoring the 40th anniversary of Eat a Peach and incorporating sit-down acoustic sets to “showcase Gregg’s voice without him having to really sing over the band.” It seems to be smooth sailing for the legendary southern rock group reincarnate. “The thing I like about this run and I guess the last few years is, the communication has been wide open. Just getting the band members only in the room and just communicating is something that, I don’t think happened for a long time [laughs]. I think it goes, I know it goes a long way.”
“The Allman Brothers is such a shifting thing,” he continues. “But we’ll plan and we’ll rehearse and then lo and behold … it kinda takes on a life of it’s own. Just the other day, we were working on a few acoustic tunes and Gregg just decides to break out an old tune off of one of his solo records. And he sounded like it was 30 years ago … His voice and strength just went back in time. It kind of stopped the room. I don’t think Oteil [Burbridge] was familiar with the tune, but it was pretty amazing, watching him kind of lock in, watching Gregg do his thing. Those are moments that it makes you realize that it really is a unique band.”