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Trucks Tedeschi brings amazing wall of sound to Clay Center

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- They could have played all night -- and came pretty close, as far as such things go at the Clay Center.

Friday night, the 11-piece Trucks Tedeschi Band unleashed a seemingly endless barrage of music, a scarcely broken string of blues, soul, blue-eyed soul, Southern rock and funky jam.

It's hard to say whether the near-capacity crowd knew what it was getting into when its members bought their tickets. Separately, husband and wife Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi cast pretty large shadows musically. Tedeschi is frequently lauded for her songwriting and her vocals. Trucks is one of the best rock guitarists living today.

Each of them has their fans, but together, with a small army backing them up on stage and helping to expand on their musical vision, the Grammy Award-winning ensemble was something else. There were moments when they transcended whatever musical genre they were supposed to be wading through. They walked above it.

But it was a long walk. The show clocked in at a dense three hours, with only a brief break between the opening act, Scrapomatic, and the main event.

While Tedeschi and Trucks are top-shelf performers, the band they've assembled around them is something to be reckoned with. In an interview, Tedeschi referred to them as Olympic-class musicians and she wasn't kidding. Kebbi Williams, Maurice Brown and Saunders Sermons, the band's horn section added flair and spice to the generally guitar-driven songs, while bassist Oteil Burbridge and dual drummers Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson hammered out an amazingly powerful musical backbone.

Mike Mattison, vocalist for opening band Scrapomatic, lent supporting vocals, played guitar, assisted with percussion and seemed to be virtually everywhere.

While the band was clearly the product of Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, everyone in it was given ample opportunity to shine, and just about everybody but the band's bus driver got an extended solo or three.

If there is a complaint to be found in the show, it was in what was missing. Neither Trucks nor Tedeschi broke much from the onslaught of continuous play to address the crowd. Trucks said nothing, while Tedeschi didn't get much farther than the polite, "Thanks for having us, glad to be here."

It is a meager complaint after such a fine performance, but it would have been nice to hear about where some of these songs came from.

Still, the crowd didn't seem to care that there wasn't a lot of chatter. The music was amazing and brought the audience to its feet for standing ovations no less than six times over the course of the evening.

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


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