Written by Jim Bille
Mar 05, 2009 at 09:00 PM
The Derek Trucks Band made a rare appearance in Houston last week at the House of Blues and even though it was a work night for me I knew I had to catch this one.

I’m a sucker for good slide guitar work and I believe Trucks is a wizard when it comes to the slide guitar. He is like the Tiger Woods of his craft. He is the one to beat when it comes to this style of playing. This young gun in age is a seasoned guitar veteran with more than twenty years of playing under his belt, most of this time can be considered as a professional. He claims that when he was a youngster learning how to play that his fingers were too small for the guitar so he decided to use a slide to speed up his learning process. This decision at the early age of 8 or so proved to be one of the keys to his now much deserved success.

One of DT’s major influences is Duane Allman, a former band mate of his uncle Butch Trucks from the early Allman Brothers Band. Trucks doesn’t do any Allman imitations though, his own style can remind the listener of Allman occasionally but he is his own guitar player. Speaking of the Allman Brothers Band, this just happens to be the other gig that keeps Trucks busy touring and recording. He’s been a full time member of that band for about ten years now on top of his own schedule and touring with Eric Clapton.

The Derek Trucks Band is not just about Derek Trucks. Truck’s is just a part of the bands whole soul. Long time collaborators Todd Smallie on bass and master drummer Yonrico Scott fill in the rhythm along with Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and flute. The somewhat mysterious appearing Count M’Butu adds extra punch on congas and percussion. Mike Mattison’s vocals are the final piece to this collection of disciplined jam masters.

A man of few if any words on stage, Derek Trucks lets his music speak for itself. No glitz, no flash, no mugging it up with the band or the crowd. Derek Trucks doesn’t do anything on stage but deliver his brand of music that mixes jazz, delta blues and rock with a sometimes mystic sounding touch of Indian influenced melodies that transcends most any of his contemporaries material. This is exactly how the band presented their style of new delta and sometimes New Delhi sounding blues Thursday.

The evenings set featured quite a few numbers from the bands newest release ‘Already Free’. The song ‘Down in the Flood’ was exceptional as was a very cool sit down version of ‘Meet Me at the Bottom’. Another new tune ‘Get What You Deserve’ really caused some crowd hysterics.

This was an absolute great show from one of the very best and most innovative slide guitar players out there.