Derek Trucks Band - Songlines

Derek Trucks Band


First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2006, Volume 13, #2

Written by John Metzger


The Allman Brothers Band may have provided the perfect home for Derek Trucks to gain confidence and attention, but the outfit’s blues-oriented framework has proven itself to be too restrictive to satisfy the budding guitarist’s eclectic tastes. For more than a decade, Trucks also has been pursuing a solo career, and his sophisticated, genre-jumping excursions, which typically bring together an array of blues, jazz, and world music textures, have become rather popular on the jam band circuit. The polished exterior of Joyful Noise, his major label debut, however, signaled that more changes were afoot.

Sure enough, Trucks not only has made singer Mike Mattison a central part of his new album Songlines, but he also has delved even further into creating soul- and pop-inflected grooves. To his credit, Trucks now is focusing upon composition and structure more than he has in the past, though the downside is that his altered approach has dampened the natural, organic flow of his compositions. Consequently, the outing is somewhat of a mixed bag.

Much of Songlines’ material — whether it’s the original compositions I’ll Find My Way and Revolution or a cover of Toots & the Maytals’ Sailing On — traverses ground that is similar in style to Santana’s Spirits Dancing in the Flesh. Even so, Trucks’ stellar slide work salvages the otherwise inoffensively lackluster arrangements, and on tracks such as the Led Zeppelin-in-New Orleans earthiness of Crow Jane; the mystical medley of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s Sahib Teri Bandi and Maki Madni; the meditative pulse of Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s Volunteered Slavery; and the funky, jazz-driven beats of All I Do, he and his band come closer to conjuring the sort of magic that his fans have come to expect. starstarstar


Of Further Interest...

Allman Brothers Band - Hittin' the Note

Dickey Betts - Back Where It All Begins: Live at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Robert Randolph - Colorblind


Songlines is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2006 The Music Box