Susan Tedeschi ready to rock the Warner Theater with husband Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks

Imagine combining one of the great blues singers with one of the best guitarists in the world.

Listen to the full conversation on our “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley Presents Tedeschi Trucks at Warner Theater (Part 1)

Imagine combining one of the great blues singers with one of the best guitarists in the world.

That’s what happened when Susan Tedeschi married Derek Trucks to form the Grammy-winning band Tedeschi Trucks, which will play at the Warner Theater this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. They return again to Warner from February 17 to 19, then to Wolf Trap on July 19.

“We were home for a good 18 months and couldn’t work because of the pandemic… so we all started writing,” Tedeschi told WTOP. “We ended up making four records of music that we’re mixing right now…we thought we had time off, we have a studio in our backyard [in Jacksonville], so we’re going to do a bunch of music.

Born in Boston in 1970, Tedeschi listened to all genres of music growing up.

“My parents were folksy,” Tedeschi said. “My dad and mom were both really in love with Bob Dylan…he played me the Staple Singers…I also grew up loving Aretha Franklin and, of course, Bonnie Raitt. I didn’t really know Bonnie until college, but then I thought, “Oh my God, I love her. … John Prine, Leonard Cohen, I love great songwriters.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston, she officially formed the Susan Tedeschi Band with Adrienne Hayes and Little Annie Raines in 1993.

“We went into the Boston Battle of the Blues Bands and kind of came in first, and then we went down to Memphis and came in second for the International Blues Competition,” Tedeschi said. “The group that arrived first wasn’t really a real group…so we ended up getting all those spots. It was huge for us. It opened a lot of doors. We made our first record.

After the first album “Better Days” (1995), she signed with Tone-Cool Records for her second album, “Just Won’t Burn” (1998), which went gold with the hit “It Hurt So Bad” .

“They were hoping to sell about 60,000 records, and I sold 600,000,” Tedeschi said. “Tom Hambridge…wrote ‘It Hurt So Bad’, he had the idea, and I added my stuff to it, but it was mostly his song…he also produced ‘Just Won’t Burn’, so he was part and parcel.”

She began opening for everyone from John Mellencamp to BB King to the Rolling Stones, eventually earning a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 2000.

“I was up against Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Macy Gray, Kid Rock – and here I am, this blues artist, it just didn’t make sense!” said Tedeschi. “They wanted me to play Kid Rock, and I didn’t want to…my boyfriend at the time was Derek, and he was like, ‘No, you shouldn’t play Kid Rock’…just stylistically, c was a bit strange.”

Of course, Derek was the nephew of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks. They started dating when Tedeschi joined Double Trouble to open the Allman Brothers in 1999.

“I knew him,” Tedeschi said. “When he was very young, I heard him on the radio with the Allman Brothers… I was dating Sean Costello in 1998, and he said, ‘My favorite guitarist, we have to go see him, c is that guy Derek Trucks…I went to see Derek for the first time…to this day I haven’t heard a guitarist who can touch him.

They fell in love while on tour with the Allman Brothers and eventually married in 2001.

“We had my solo band, his solo band and the Allman Brothers, which he was in for 15 years, so we basically had three bands,” Tedeschi said. “Then we had two children. Then he started playing with Clapton when the kids were little, so it was four bands and two kids. It was top notch! I don’t know if many people could do it, but somehow we made it.

In 2008 they formed Soul Stew Revival before launching Tedeschi Trucks in 2010.

“We started doing Soul Stew Revival, which was a mix of both bands,” Tedeschi said. “Then in 2010, Derek decided, ‘I’m going to start a band. Do you want to be in it? So I was like, ‘Oh my God, OK.’ I had to think about leaving my solo project and going there, so that’s what we did, we started all over again and created this band.

In 2012, Tedeschi Trucks Band won the Grammy for Best Blues Album with “Revelator”.

“It was really fun,” Tedeschi said. “We wrote with Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers; John Leventhal, husband of Roseanne Cash; we wrote on our own: Mike Mattison and Derek wrote stuff like ‘Midnight in Harlem’, ‘Bounce of Glory’ and a lot of classic songs for our band now. … It was an amazing journey to see where this band went.

Most recently, they recorded “Layla Revisited” with Trey Anastasio of Phish in 2019.

“We did a gig at LOCKN’ (in Arlington, Virginia) and did the whole ‘Layla’ record,” Tedeschi said. “During the lockdown, the boys were mixing it up and going, ‘Wow, that’s really good. We should make an album out of it.’ So we did it. It came out last summer.”

The “Layla” recording comes full circle in Susan and Derek’s love affair.

“I actually found out during the making that I was born the day that record came out,” Tedeschi said. “The day ‘Layla’ came out I was born: November 9, 1970, which is kind of crazy. Very fortuitous. It was definitely named after Derek from Derek & The Dominoes…so I really think it was full circle for both of us. I really think it’s just meant to be.

WTOP’s Jason Fraley Presents Tedeschi Trucks at Warner Theater (Part 2)

Listen to the full conversation on our “Beyond the Fame” podcast.

Corina C. Butler