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Tedeschi Trucks Band At F.M. Kirby Center – Live Show Review

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We caught up with the Tedeschi Trucks Band tour as it rolled into F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA on Sunday February 15, 2015. The band is touring behind their second studio album, Made Up Mind. This eleven piece ensemble includes Derek Trucks on guitar, Susan Tedeschi on guitar and lead vocals, Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute, Tim Lefebvre on bass, Tyler Greenwell and J.J. Johnson, both TedeschiTrucksBandMikeMattisonon drums and percussion, with former Derek Trucks Band vocalist Mike Mattison on harmony and lead vocals and acoustic guitar, plus Mark Rivers on harmony vocals and the horn section which includes Kebbi Williams on saxophone, Maurice Brown on trumpet, and Saunders Sermons on trombone. Together they make a joyful noise and it surely warmed up the bitter cold winter night.

TedeschiTrucksBandSusanSingingFor those unfamiliar with the band, Derek Trucks was an integral member of the Allman Brothers Band since 1999, as well as leader of the Derek Trucks Band which dissolved as TTB was being created. Susan Tedeschi was an award winning blues and roots singer and guitarist. The pair met when Susan toured as an opener for the Allman Brothers Band way back in 1999 or so. The two were later married and attempted to raise a family while being on the road in three different bands. Eventually they decided pool their talents and the Tedeschi Trucks Band was born. Their first album, Revelator, garnered TTB a Best Blues Album Grammy and a Blues Music Award for Album of the Year. Their follow-up live album, Everybody’s Talkin’ won the band a Blues Music Award for Best Rock Blues Album plus Susan, Derek and TTB itself won separate Blues Music Awards in 2012.

TedeschiTrucksBandDerekFeelingItAgainI have seen Tedeschi Trucks Band only once before this show and I was not impressed. I thought their debut album was lackluster, melancholy, and 180 degrees away from the triumph that was the final Derek Trucks Band record, Already Free. I felt let down by what I thought would be a powerful and dynamic band and record. The live set I saw previously found the band stumbling to find a pace for their shows and had too many mellow tunes grouped together. They lost me about half way through. Still, I respect these fine musicians and now, four years later, I was ready to give them another try, especially because I love the Made Up Mind album. I never expected the dynamic, expressive, full-bore Blues, Rock, and R&B juggernaut revue that trampled all my reservations and skepticism.

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Without fanfare, the lights went down and one by one the band members came on stage, took their places, and started into the opening number. By the time they launched into “Made Up Mind” ten minutes later they were firing on all cylinders and ramping it up into overdrive. “Made Up Mind” is a raspy, chugging tune and drew cheers from the crowd seconds after Derek Trucks started scratching out the opening riffs. Susan Tedeschi belted out the chorus defiantly as the crowd sang along and boogied with the strutting rhythm. In the back of the hall, folks gathered to dance as Derek Trucks took everyone on slide guitar excursions into the heavens.

TedeschiTrucksBandKofiBurbridgeWhile Susan Tedeschi’s guitar playing has developed significantly since joining forces with her husband on stage, Kofi Burbridge serves as Derek’s main foil for soloing. Kofi is a maestro on keyboards and flute. He treated the crowd to many fantastic moments on both instruments. When Kofi takes a turn, Derek moves to Kofi’s corner on stage, listens intently, and with barely perceptible head movements spurs his musical partner higher. As for Susan, she played some excellent solos during Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “I Pity The Fool” which she also sang with fervor and authority.

 

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The chemistry of the whole ensemble is undeniable. The horn section adds significantly to the overall sound, the two drummers are in lock step like a drum corps in a marching band, and vocalists Mike Mattison and Mark Rivers add layers of harmony that make the songs soar. Both Mike and Mark took turns on lead vocals. Susan Tedeschi is a formidable singer, but having two additional voices for lead vocals expands the band’s range exponentially. I realized about halfway through the set that this eleven piece band is a Rhythm & Blues orchestra. Each element of the band fills a specific purpose, creating layers of sound, and increasing the overall potency of the music. In a word, it was incredible.

TedeschiTrucksBandDerekAndSusan

Among the highlights were back to back acoustic tunes including Elmore James’ “Done Somebody Wrong” which was an electrified favorite of the Allman Brothers Band. Here, Derek and Susan took the song beyond its roots with a sparse arrangement that somehow kept all the intensity intact. “Bound For Glory” and “Midnight In Harlem” are standout tunes from the first album and they have developed into tour de force performance pieces. “Midnight In Harlem” showcases Susan Tedeschi’s command of her voice and the band’s ability to create tension and release. “Bound For Glory” has become an extended instrumental workout and gave me several breaks from reality as I found myself thinking I was in the middle of a full blown Allman Brothers jam. These moments gave me great hope for this extraordinary band, and my listening habits of the future.

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I really can’t say enough about the complete reversal of opinion I experienced during the show. I am pleased to know this band has hit its stride and will hopefully continue to improve. Unfortunately it happens less and less, but it’s a good feeling to sit in a concert hall and be utterly impressed. Over the course of two hours, this well-oiled machine called Tedeschi Trucks Band raised the bar for every working band out there.

 

Shemekia Copeland Coming To F.M. Kirby Center

ShemekiaCopeland_Approved2Vocal powerhouse, Shemekia Copeland, will visit the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, February 20 at 8:00 p.m. as part of the “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” concert series. The Chandelier Lobby provides an intimate setting where the attendees can experience the passion and power of the musicians up close.

While only in her early 30’s, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues music industry. She has already opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, Copeland was presented with Taylor’s crown on June 12, 2011 at the Chicago Blues Festival.

Born in Harlem, New York, in 1979, Copeland is the daughter of the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland. Ms. Copeland has recently re-signed with Alligator Records, the label she called home from 1998 through 2005. Shemekia is working on a new album with producer Oliver Wood and the new music is due in September 2015.

Her passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Her music comes from deep within her soul and from the streets where she grew up, surrounded by the everyday sounds of the city – street performers, gospel singers, blasting radios, bands in local parks and so much more.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at the Kirby Center Box Office, by phone at (570) 826-1100 and online at www.kirbycenter.org.

Tickets Prices: $20.00 (advance), $25 (day of show), plus fees

New Facebook Contest – Win Alexis P. Suter Band Tickets

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It’s contest time again folks! You can win tickets to see Alexis P. Suter Band, and their special guest Norman Taylor, at FM Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA on November 15, 2014. To win a pair of tickets, describe the Love The Way You Roll album cover in ten words or less. The description with the most Likes by 11:59 Eastern Time Wednesday November 12, 2014 wins the tickets! Put your description in the comments below the post on our Facebook page, get all your friends and relatives to Like your entry and you could be at the show.

APSBLoveTheWayYouRollThe cover of Love The Way You Roll is a distinct deviation from the usual Blues album cover and captures the imagination. There are layers of hidden visual treats, references, and in-jokes. Let your senses guide you to the best concise description (ten words or less!) you can come up with and share it with us. Click the image of the album cover for a high definition version so you can explore it’s hidden charms!

 

If you’re not familiar with the band, here they are with the tune “Big Mama” from Love The Way You Roll:

Show details:

Back by popular demand, the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts announces the return of its “Live from the Chandelier Lobby” concert series, which will feature one performance per month beginning in November and running through April, 2015.

Alexis P. Suter Band
with special guest, Norman Taylor
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15 at 8pm

The latest lobby series kicks off on Saturday, November 15 at 8:00 pm with a very special performance from blues, baritone powerhouse Alexis P. Suter and her band.Fans will remember Suter and company from their roof-raising performance last year when they rocked the Kirby Center in support of Trombone Shorty.  Since then, the band has released a new album, Love The Way You Roll, which has sat atop the Blues album charts for seven weeks and counting!In other words, get your tickets early!

Tickets to see the Alexis P. Suter Band go on sale this Friday, October 17 at 10:00 a.m. and will be available at the Kirby Center Box Office, online at kirbycenter.org and by phone at (570) 826-1100.

This time around promises to be even more exciting, as Michael Cloeren , founder of the Pocono/Pennsylvania Blues Festival and director of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, will serve as emcee for each performance, introducing the performers and conducting brief Q-&-A sessions between the artists and their fans.

“Live from the Chandelier Lobby” once again features general admission seating, with an estimated capacity of 300 patrons.

Ticket Price: $20.00 (advance) | $25.00 (doors), plus fees