In an essay for Salon, I react to a recent performance from the mighty Tedeschi Trucks Band with a meditation on poetry, soul, and the beauty of protest music that affirms the dignity of human creativity and community.
The music of Tedeschi Trucks Band is nutrition for the spirit. When digital enhancements and alterations have conquered the mass market of American music, Susan Tedeschi, one of the world’s best blues and soul singers, and her husband Derek Trucks, one of world’s best blues and rock guitarists, use their songwriting prowess and their performative passion to lead a 12-member band through a house of musical mirrors. From the vantage point of Tedeschi Trucks, blues morphs into soul, soul shapeshifts into rock, and rock deconstructs into a dynamic form of jazz improvisation. Their aptly named summer tour, “Wheels of Soul,” featuring opening bands Shovels and Rope and the current standard-bearers of Southern Rock, Blackberry Smoke, transgresses all boundaries, managing to move with a dynamism and creative daring possible only with the organic navigation of the human mind, hand, and voice.