Tedeschi Trucks Band on New LP: ‘It Never Felt Like We Were Under the Gun’
Tedeschi Trucks Band don’t take much time off from the road. With 12 members, there are a lot of mouths to feed. When one of those members — Tim Lefebvre (who appears on David Bowie’s final album, Blackstar) — joined the band two years ago, the dynamic of the group changed, a shift documented on TTB’s improv-driven new LP, Let Me Get By.
The album is the first that TTB has self-produced, writing and mixing in their Swamp Raga Studios in Jacksonville, Florida. “It’s the first truly autonomous record we’ve done,” says Derek Trucks — co-founder and guitarist (also husband to guitarist and lead vocalist Susan Tedeschi). “And finding [Lefebvre] made [the album] different musically right out of the gate.”
“It definitely shows where the band is at more than some of our other records,” says Tedeschi, whose roaring vocals were produced by her husband. “I like what they did with my voice.” The pair talked with Rolling Stone about the joys of self-production and the challenges of managing their sizable group.
How is Let Me Get By different from your prior albums?
Derek Trucks: A lot of musicians, no matter how good they are, the music business is a strange, shitty place. Musicians get callous. In the last year with this band, we finally have everybody on the same page and everybody fully in it and you can feel it throughout the record. There are no ulterior motives.
Susan Tedeschi: Everything was done in-house. Bands should be allowed to play what they hear and what they feel, since they are the ones making the music. It’s a funny concept but it’s not always the case. The songs could actually open up and stretch a little bit. There were a lot more improvisational moments where, in the past, we tried to make all the songs shorter and fit for radio. It felt more natural. The record itself breathes.
What was the inspiration behind the new album?
Tedeschi: We haven’t done a record in three years. We were really ready to do another album and get in there and do new stuff. It’s really exciting and we’re excited to play the songs live, which honestly we had not started doing until recently because we were trying to save them for this record release. It’s hard to do that nowadays, especially when you play something new and everybody’s got cell phones out and it gets on YouTube. It’s frustrating. They don’t realize how that affects us, you know?
Sure, especially because you guys have a tour coming up.
Tedeschi: We’re a working band. We tour all the time, so we have to work at new material so it’s not boring — for the band, too. The band is so fluent; they want to always have current, new stuff. It’s just trying to keep everybody happy.