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Derek Trucks: The Derek Trucks Band

As infants, we fear monsters. As adults, we eagerly seek them out and herald their arrival. Musicians and discerning fans are constantly identifying new monsters on the scene. “You check this new cat out on _______ (fill in the blank…tenor, guitar, bass, drums, et al.)? Scary!” Writers are also notoriously keen on pointing them out. So here I go again. Ladies and gentleman, I give you yet another monster on the scene…guitarist (what else?) Derek Trucks. In his debut as a leader, The Derek Trucks Band (Landslide Records 1020; 52:45) the 18-year-old nephew of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks unleashes monstrous slide guitar chops. Technically speaking, this stuff goes well beyond your basic 12-bar Delta blues, past avant slidemeisters like Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth and right into the Tronzone (as in Dave Tronzo). Not many slide guitarists would bother to tackle material like John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” and “Naima,” Miles Davis’ “So What” or Wayne Shorter’s “Footprints,” but Trucks stretches on these jazzy vehicles with ferocious conviction. He saves up his bluesier, pentatonic hot licks for original material like “555 Lake,” the Allman Brothers-ish jam “#6 Dance” and the ominous “Evil Clown.” With Bill McKay on Hammond B-3 organ, Todd Smallie on six-string bass and Yonrico Scott on drums, the electrifying Derek Trucks Band is primed to blow minds. In a word…scary!

Originally Published