Written by Jim Bille
Feb 06, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageSusan Tedeschi first came on the music scene around 10 years ago while traveling around with BB King. The news I remember about her shows with BB was that she was stealing the show nightly from the King of the Blues and was getting a lot of good press.

I managed to catch her act about a year later when I saw her with Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon backing her up at a blues show in Dallas. I can say I was very impressed at the time but grew less impressed as time went on.  Her music has always been listenable but I kind of feel she peaked right from the start. To many years of comparing her to Bonnie Raitt and maybe too many songs sounding like Raitt kind of wore thin for me. I again caught her act a few years back at Houston International Festival…same thing, good but not great.

Fast forward to last Friday night at the House of Blues. I was asked at short notice if I could cover the show and was in fact able to make it downtown for my third Susan Tedeschi outing.

Tedeschi stepped on the House of Blues stage unannounced and immediately unloaded on the crowd with ‘Talking About’, a number from her new release ‘Back to the River’. This first number knocked me back on my heels with its solid blues rock power and set the tone for the rest of the evening.  Music from the new release was featured throughout the show and man was I glad. This is definitely some of the best material Susan Tedeschi has released in a long time. Songs like the title cut, ‘Back to the River’, co-written with Tony Joe White is classic Tedeschi that features nice guitar hooks throughout the song. ‘Cant Sleep at Night’ was introduced as a song she wrote in her garage one night after not being able to sleep…hence the name. ‘Butterfly’, featured a driving rhythm that kept the jammed venue motating. Of course other Tedeschi favorites were featured including ‘Till I Found You’ and her signature song ‘Rock Me Right’.

With her crack band behind her Tedeschi ruled the night with a very strong and soulful show. Her passionate vocals ranged from raw and full of energy to sweet and low down. Her guitar work was off the scale most of the evening as she exhibited some blistering fret workouts all night long.

OK, I’ll admit it. I’m back on the Susan Tedeschi band wagon again. This was the great show I always expected to see again from her.