Street Sounds: Revelator is a revelation

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Revelator

The new face in a southern rock dynasty, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, fronted by vocalist Susan Tedeschi and slide guitar master Derek Trucks, deliver a swamp-born mix of soul, blues-rock and gospel.

Recorded in Trucks’ Jacksonville studio, the debut is rich, grainy and relaxed, with songs and performances that go for inspiration without ruling each other out.

Tedeschi’s voice soars in a warm southern way, she’s got presence, like a singer who’s been doing it forever. Lyrically, the record is honest and simple: Midnight in Harlem is a subtle soulful turn for Tedeschi and the mega-band.

The group (all 11 of them), knows how to mix as an ensemble, there’s no stepping on toes, so that the music is a pulsing wave of sound that’s naturally textured and has the illusion of movement.

Slide master Trucks, who should be nominated as the new “Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” acts as a featured accompanist, taking his solo turns in vocal bursts of expressive phrasing.

The TTB uses its numbers to maximum strength in Bound For Glory, where they summon up a Baptist church gospel feel, which sits in the background of much of this recording.

On a quick listen, one gets a good hit of molasses and mellow alongside the southern soul. The strains of Stax/Volt Memphis soul must have floated through the studio walls on Until You. Yes, there’s some chill, some relaxation here, but underneath and through runs a pulse, and that’s a result of the arrangements. The vocals and instruments lay back and step up, and move around each other.

Busy has no business here and overplaying doesn’t happen, and all these solid musicians playing for the song make Revelator a great groovy recording.

–– Dean Gordon-Smith is The Morning Star’s music reviewer. His column, Street Sounds, runs every Friday.