Thursday, November 13, 2008
Susan Tedeschi: Back to the River (CD review)
Great new tunes from Susan Tedeschi, on her Back to the River CD.
Click here to read my review at Las Vegas City Life, or see the full text below.
Back to the River (Verve Forecast)
"Revolutionize Your Soul," arriving about two-thirds through Boston-born singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi's latest CD, is a real peak, a feel-good mixture of blues, R&B and gospel. Riding a rising tide of horns, she applies gritty vocals -- think early Bonnie Raitt -- to a tale of spiritual (albeit non-religious) renewal, and lets husband Derek Trucks in for a few bars of slide-guitar scorch. The tune's crescendo is followed by a laidback chill-out section.
That's just one of the rootsy treats on a set of music, including catchy first single "True," that is deeply bluesy but accessible enough to suggest hot prospects for a crossover.
Tedeschi, whose vocals sound significantly more mature and lived-in than ever, branches out this time, with songwriting credits on 10 of the 11 tracks here. She collaborated with Trucks on the Southern-fried psychedelic soul of "Butterfly," another track bolstered by the latter's stinging lines, and worked with Gary Louris on the rangy "Learning the Hard Way," which variously hints at Santana and pop-Americana a la The Jayhawks.
A tricky fuzz-guitar line anchors the swampy funk of Allen Toussaint's "There's a Break in the Road," splashed with electric piano and horns. Tedeschi, sounding seriously re-energized, dives deep on Back to the River, handily.