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Tedeschi and band Trucking right along in 2012

Courtesy photo
Husband and wife musicians Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi bring their Trucks Tedeshi Band to the Clay Center on Friday. The group's 2012 is off to a great start; in February it won a Grammy and performed at the White House with a host of blues greats.

WANT TO GO?

Tedeschi Trucks Band

WHERE: Clay Center

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday

TICKETS:  $40 and $65

INFO: 304-561-3570 or www.theclaycenter.orgCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The life of a blues musician isn't all loneliness, hard times and heartache. Sometimes there's just not a lot to be blue about.

Lately, things have been going very well for blues and soul musician Susan Tedeschi and her husband, guitarist Derek Trucks. On Feb. 12, their band, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, scored a Best Blues Album Grammy Award for its debut, "Revelator." Later that week, the 11-piece ensemble played at the White House.

Yes, 2012 is shaping up to be an amazing year, but Tedeschi, who performs with her band Friday night at the Clay Center, said she had no idea how they could top that.

"That week was amazing," she said. "We went from Japan to L.A., playing amazing sold-out shows in Japan, then coming home to L.A. to win the Grammy. And Derek got a lifetime achievement award with the Allman Brothers."

Not bad since Trucks is only 32. "But he deserves it," Tedeschi said. "He's been touring with them since he was 9 years old."

After the Grammys, the band went to the White House where it played at Red, White and Blues, a special recorded for PBS. The concert featured performances by B.B. King, Jeff Beck and Mick Jagger among others. 

Blues legend Buddy Guy managed to convince President Obama to sing a verse of "Sweet Home Chicago." "Because that's where he was from when he was in the Senate," Tedeschi said.

"Him and Michelle were just amazing," she added. "They're just so down to earth and so sweet and so serious but in a really cool way."

A few days later, the band was in New York at the Apollo Theater celebrating blues great Hubert Sumlin, who died in November. "It was supposed to be his birthday party, but instead of canceling, more musicians showed up. They had Eric Clapton and Keith Richards."

Tedeschi is a veteran musician. Long before she even met Trucks, the Berklee Music School graduate was out on her own. Over the years, she's shared the stage with dozens of performers, but she still gets a little starstruck and collects autographs on her guitar -- the same one she plays onstage.

"A lot of them have come off," Tedeschi said of the autographs. "But I really baby some of them, like Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and John Lee Hooker because they're gone."

Brown, a country blues great, died in 2005. Hooker, a blues legend, died in 2001.

"I should retire that guitar," she said. "But I like it. It's comfortable and so easy to play. Plus it's a good contrast to Derek's SG [guitar]."

Her husband got her a guitar, a 1970s Stratocaster, as a late birthday present a while back that she said she loves, but she's not 100 percent sure if it's going to replace her regular guitar.

As exciting as it is to play for the president, win a major award, share the stage with music royalty and gather interesting autographs on her guitar, going home is sweet, too.      

She and Trucks have two children, Charlie and Sophia, who keep them busy. Since the kids were born, they've more or less fallen into a pattern of trying to have at least one parent home during the school year while the other parent is off performing. After they got back from New York, Tedeschi went home, while Trucks went out on the road with The Allman Brothers.

"I've been making dresses for my daughter for a class project," she explained. "And last weekend, 20 boys were over for Charlie's birthday party. We did tie-dyes and painting and it was awesome."

Later, Tedeschi said, she and the kids would go visit Trucks on the road before coming home again and getting ready to take the Tedeschi Trucks band out again. Somewhere in there, they planned to record another album, she said.

"We always keep occupied."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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