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Nearly a year in the making and brimming with a newfound focus on original material, Already Free is The Derek Trucks Band's natural evolution as they move forward integrating influences that span a variety of musical genres. Known for their blues roots, the group takes this album well beyond blues to incorporate the larger sounds of rock & soul. Already Free, features a stirring cover of Bob Dylan's Down In The Flood as well as the new songs, Down Don't Bother Me and Get What You Deserve. Guest appearances on the album include vocals from Susan Tedeschi and Doyle Bramhall II.
2009 release, the highly anticipated sixth album from The Derek Trucks band. Self-produced by Trucks in his home studio in Florida, it represents the band's natural evolution as they move forward integrating influences that span a variety of musical genres. Known for their Blues roots, the group takes this album well beyond Blues to incorporate the larger sounds of Rock and Soul. The band consists of Derek Trucks on guitar, Todd Smallie on bass, percussionist Count M'Buto, Yonrico Scott on drums, Kofi Burbridge on keyboards and vocalist Mike Mattison. The band was joined by pals like Doyle Bramhall II, Oteil Burbridge and Trucks' wife, Susan Tedeschi in the studio. Bramhall takes over vocal duties on two songs, "Maybe This Time" and "Our Love." Already Free reflects all of Trucks' many influences and experiences, and highlights the quintessential Derek Trucks Band sound of mixing soulful vocals and expert guitar playing on what is poised to be the band's definitive album.
- Already Free- It Doesn't Get Better Than This!
Another fantastic recording by a band that only gets better and better! Down Don't Bother Me, I Know and Get What You Deserve all kill. Hopefully, Already Free will be the breakout album that finally gets this supremely talented, hard working and generous band the broad recognition they so richly deserve. Buy this CD and don't miss the opportunity to see the Derek Trucks Band live....more info
- Feel-Good Soul Blues For 2009
Warm, soulful, bluesy, relaxed: this describes the vibe here. This is the least Derek Trucks-like the guitarist has ever sounded. The focus has shifted onto the songs and their vocalists; Mike Mattison, Susan Tedeschi, and Doyle Bramhall III, eschewing the more incendiary guitar workouts of the past. Mostly, Derek takes a back seat, only really letting loose on three or four cuts. Gone are the elements of Jazz and World music associated with 2006's "Songlines" and other albums. All told, this is a refined, well-crafted effort from the guitarist. Two or three songs verge on uninteresting, or boring, and are just barely saved by Derek's wonderful guitar playing: thus the reason for four stars and not five....more info
- Already Free
For a long time fan of the DTB this new cd can be a bit of a let down, though not because of the quality of the songs or the consistency of the performances. The let down is the loss of the eclecticism of his previous works. Derek and his band shine on this album; there are no weak tracks. Derek is spot on and I believe the DTB is one of the best working bands out there. For Derek and his band it is all about the music and they complement him so well. For evidence of this see them live; they give one of the best live performances that you are likely to hear. This album has a more mainstream sound, which for me, is not as exciting, but still very listenable. Though I enjoy the early DTB, I believe the addition of Mike Mattison has added tremendously to the band. That said I feel that having Doyle Bramhall guest on a couple of tracks is a misstep. The songs are good, but I believe that his vocals interrupt the flow of the album and as a result the album has less of a band feel than it could. This is my only real complaint. All in all, I'm loving this album. I can't get enough of the DTB. Buy this you won't be disappointed....more info
- Great CD
A friend of mine turned me on to the DTB band a couple of years ago by introducing me to the "Songlines" CD. I really enjoyed that one and was delighted when I heard that they had a new CD out. I have played this constantly since I got it and it is helping me get through the waiting period for the next Springsteen CD next week.
As one reviewer noted, this is more "mainstream" than other DTB CD's. However, that is not a bad thing IMHO. When scanning the other reviews I also noted like another reviewer did that several reviews said Derek did not play very much(???). I have to agree with his statement to these folks .. What CD were you listening to? Derek's playing is superb througout and he steps up on almost all the tracks. I think that because his sound melds so well with the band and does not dominate the sound, some may feel he is not tearing it up. Oh well, different strokes...
It is hard to single out any one track for me as I enjoyed each one. If you put a gun to my head and say I could pick a few, I guess I'd say "Down in the Flood", "Sweet Inspiration", and "Get What You Deserve". The two songs that Doyle Bramhall sang on were fine, but it would have interesting to hear Mike Mattison sing lead.
As I am writing this I have the DTB playing a mini set live on NPR. Great Stuff!
- Sometimes there is only one word...
....and that word is OUTSTANDING. Derek Trucks and his band is a breath of fresh air in a sea of mediocre music. Please sir, I want some more......more info
- Down-Home Musical Beauty to Add Color to a Drab World
In this recording, I hear modern blues-rock at its finest, because the songs reflect the exuberant coming together of A BAND, rather than merely the staggeringly talented product of the creativity of one musician with a back-up band to showcase "the star." Music is not intended to be a vehicle for technical grandstanding. Test my theory by thinking about your favorite recordings, and notice (I hope) that the ones that stand out are the ones that feature a tight band clearly interacting democratically and having a great time painting a musical portrait of some sort that you can relate to. Now, yes, if it happens that a composition requires intricate playing that would make Hendrix, Jaco et al. proud, then, sure, the associated instrument/s get/s technical, sometimes near-supernaturally so. The Allman's Brothers proved this to be true in quite a few of their tracks; Jimi Hendrix did; countless bands and soloists have accomplished this and will continue to do so and thank goodness for that. Still, "shredding," as metal-fans call it, or anything of that sort, is just a musical tool, one of many in a good musician's toolbox, and too many amateur listeners get fixated on this one tool, expecting that all a good carpenter needs is a hammer. That's sad.
Check out Buddy Guy's numerous recordings (y'all, Jimi cited him as a major influence): A virtuoso blues guitarist's guitarist, he can blow any peer out of the Blessed muddy water with his stellar playing. And yet, his most critically-acclaimed and enthusiastically received album is Damn Right I've got the Blues, wherein he shares the guitar spotlight with other luminaries like Jeff Beck and, while his always-original playing reminds us all that he's the King of Chicago blues, he steps back plenty of times to give the band a chance to independently do some beautiful musical flamethrowing or breathe a bit. Why's that? It's because aforesaid album reflects a fruitful collaboration of brilliant musicians truly playing together rather than exclusively spotlighting and grandstanding, strutting and preening, while egotistically oblivious to the efforts of the other players.
Good music is that which paints an aural portrait, sometimes a few, sometimes a thematic one. And one of the reviewers (thank you!) got the gestalt-theme of this one pegged: It's a musical portrait of honest, down-home togetherness and friendly, social harmony. Lord knows we can use more of that in the "real world."
Given that life often imitates art rather than the reverse, I recommend--heck, I implore--that the "aw, darn, there's not enough slide-guitar happpening here" listeners reconsider their retrograde approach to music appreciation. It's their loss if they don't evolve, but, because life imitates art often, as I mentioned, it's also society's loss....more info
- Don't miss the point here
He's already an integral part of the second coming of The Allman Brothers. Oh wait! Make that at least the third coming. His latest offering isn't one for jam band purists or those people looking for a guitar god offering. It's a fantastic sounding, scary good full band effort that should put Derek and the band up the permanently with the legends of southern rock. This band is tight, tight, tight. No, Derek doesn't rip off solo after solo but he plays delicious slide guitar that Duane would be proud of while helming one of the most amazing bands in rock and roll. Blues fans, rock fans, soul fans unite! Your savior has arrived....more info
- excellent record
Derek Trucks has already carved out a place for himself as the premier electric guitarist of his generation. Like many young players his recorded product has been a bit inconsistent, though each record has shown significant growth. His last record Songlines showed a maturing talent who was learning to play the studio as an instrument, and showed him absorbing the many stylistic influences into something that was uniquely his own. Already Free continues that growth, though hard core purists among us will probably be unhappy.
Already Free shows the influence of his year working with Eric Clapton, especiallly his embrace of more commercial forms of music. It also shows the vibe of his work with his own side project (if you can call it that) the Soul Stew Revival, his rollicking rock and blues revue with his wife Susan Tedeschi. Highlights of Already Free include a cover of Dylan's Down in The Flood, Something to Make You Happy which reminds me of mid-70's soul, perhaps War, and Get What You Deserve, a blistering rocker. My personal favorite is probably These Days is Almost Gone, a Kofi Burbridge tune that works perfectly.
While this record doesn't have a song with the highs of Songlines' This Sky, overall it is more consistent and the songs are stronger. it is an exceptional record, but the lack of transcendental moments knocks it down to 4 stars. A definite buy, and it will spend hours on the changer....more info
- A nice range of styles played by experienced pros
Listening to this fine recording makes it apparent that Derek Trucks is well acquainted with a wide range of blues music, both classic and contemporary. There aren't many musicians who can play different blues styles with authority, but Derek Trucks can.
"Already Free" will appeal to most fans of traditional blues, rock blues, soul blues, and contemporary blues. There are a lot of different moods represented here, and each blues color is interpreted tastefully by Derek and his group of pros.
They are taking blues in a new direction while staying true to the essence of the style.
It is exciting to imagine what sort of music we can expect from Derek in the future. He is a top-flight slide guitarist and singer with deep roots in the blues. I don't think it's a stretch to imagine that his legacy will eventually match that of blues greats such as Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and even some of the Chicago blues masters of the postwar era. Keep up the nice work, Derek....more info
- Protege Turns Into Superstar
Derek Trucks is probably the greatest of the next generation guitarists. I just saw him at the Wiltern in L.A. and heard him play several cuts from his new album - among many other songs. I have not seen anybody master a guitar and dominate the stage as Derek did last night - since Jimi Hendrix - 40 years ago.
In this new album, his inclusion of others, their vocals and full span melodies may cut down a bit on his guitar magic, but it is more settling and inclusive of the potential audience. His other Band members - and Susan and Mike on vocals - represent best in class - accross the board. This album brings this out. Neither Jimi or Eric ever let the guitar take away from their songs - they made sure the guitar enabled the song to go beyond perfect. This album does just that - and no one forgets that this is Derek's band and album. This might be Derek's "Joshua Tree" breakthrough - as happened to U2 several decades ago. No one should miss this album - and everyone should see Derek live and on stage.
Absolutely one of the best musicians that I've ever seen!!!! ...more info
- Allman Brothers LIGHT
This cd is mainstream radio friendly rock.The focus is on the vocals and songs not the guitar.Most the tunes are midtempo and none really standout.After a while they start to sound alike.I hope Dereks recent tour with Clapton hasnt turned him into another Clapton - that being a former guitar smoker mellowing into a more mainstream "artist" doing crap like Wonderful Tonight.Derek doesnt take any chances or break any new ground on this cd instead he sticks to Allman Brothers light.Theres no blues or jazz .When I buy a Derek Trucks cd I want to hear his guitar wail not pop radio songs.With his talent ,hes among the best ,Im a bit disappointed....more info
- Easy Listening
Solid 4+ star effort from the D.T. Band, which in my view just keeps going from strength to strength and which the liner notes rightly point out sounds more like a distinctive, coherent band here than ever before. But as some other reviewers note this is also a more conservative, less eclectic, more subdued Trucks, and some of the songs are only a bit interesting and saved by Trucks' always tasteful, soulful guitar. Overall it's a soulful recording (the first from his new, aptly named Swamp Raga studios), reminding me of late 60's to early 70's R&B, Soul and Rock sounds (my first impression was of 60's Clapton...and Allman on Layla...and my favorite song by far is the slide-full OUR LOVE, which reminds me of something just beyond my memory).
This retro sound is mellow and cool and right for this band, but I'm also left wanting a taste of their far reaching jazz/world exploring style. However, as good as this band plays together what holds it together at the core is Truck's amazing, distinctive and penetrating guitar work. I'd probably be happy if it was all solo guitar... but maybe this tighter and more song oriented recording will expose a wider audience to the magic of his sound. And there's something he's saying (something beyond words and definition) that needs to be heard. (And how this band grooves and listens and PLAYS together is the expression of this message. Already Free, and Joyful, indeed.)...more info
- Absolutely the Best!!!
I have not been a Derek Trucks fan before today. I saw him with the Allman Brothers on TV a couple of years ago ( I was a huge Allman Bros fan in college) and was impressed but didn't follow up on his own recordings. Then I heard this CD and I have to admit I have not been this excited about a rock / soul recording in a long, long time! It just feels good to listen to. I love the soulful feel and the up and down slide of exciting rhythm and then mellow tunes. I am not a rock afficianado and can't really describe well what I love about it. I usually go for the more mellow and folky type of music -- or classical. But I can't sit still with this recording -- and I am a very sedate over 50's woman! I highly recommend this CD and the new Susan Tedeschi CD, 'Back to the River' as well. ...more info
- Aleady Free ( CD)
This is the best Derek Trucks CD yet it is true gritty music, I have seen his band in concert 1 time, but I have also seen him with Greg Alman. I think he is probaly the best guitar player in the world!!!!This CD is well worth the money .For any body who likes rock from the 70's and early 80's( Santana, Eric Clapton, Jimmie Hendrix ect. )you must buy this....more info
- I love the music of the Derek Trucks Band
Derek Trucks has magic fingers. The title track is a simple blues song, but every word and chord resonates with me. I love the way Derek plays guitar. My favorite track is "Down Don't Bother Me" and "Down In The Flood". Vocalist Mike Mattison shows his powerful soulful voice on these tracks. Mike also shows that he can also sing the slow songs. I love his song "Days Is Almost Gone". This song is very relaxing. I also love the groovy beat of "Something To Make You Happy". This song is a five minute party. I love Susan Tedeschi's vocals on the track "Back Where I Started". The acoustic guitar playing is good on this track. "I Know" is a song about the need for human contact. The musical arrangements on this track sound so good. I love the music of the Derek Trucks band....more info
- Great, but a departure from 'Songlines'
My signed copy (!) of Already Free arrived from the US this morning, in the same post as my tickets for the April 22 DTB gig at Shepherds Bush Empire - an exciting day! I've listened to it a couple of times, and I think it's going to take a while to grow on me. There are some excellent, immediately accessible tracks, and the band is extended to include other musicians, notably Doyle Bramhall II, with whom DT played with Eric Clapton on tour last year, and who co-produces some of the tracks here. My first impression is that this album has a narrower musical spectrum than the superb Songlines, which is on almost permanent play in my car. However, each of the previous DTB albums have been rather different from one another, so I suppose fans should have expected this! This album is the first produced by DT himself, and recorded at his new studio at his home in Florida. I think that DT's innate humility has resulted in less prominence for his own playing and more emphasis on a group performance. It has a more bluesy feel than Songlines, with the world/roots influences definitely muted by comparison. However, my immediate feeling is that if I'd never heard Songlines, Already Free would be brilliant and worth 5 stars. So, I guess it's going to take a while to soak in, but I'm sure it will become a favourite in time - I find that albums with immediate payback pale after a while, but those you have to work at a bit are ultimately more rewarding. Definitely worth buying - and perhaps a more gentle way in to DTB than some previous albums. ...more info
- 3 1/2 * A STEP BACK
2006's Songlines was a potent stylistic brew that signaled big things for the DTB. Sadly this new outing is already getting over-hyped. The fact that it's accessible and getting mainstream radio air play is great but it feels like a small step backward. The originals are slight and Doyle Bramhall and Susan Tedeschi's guest shots are mere throw offs. Along with Sonny Landreth, Trucks is the most innovative slide guitarist on the planet. The covers of Dylan's Down In The Flood and Paul Pena's Something To Make Me Happy are excellent but a great player needs great songs to make a killer disc. The hidden jewel of this band continues to be vocalist Mike Mattison. (Who is great in his "other" band Scapomatic) His voice may be an acquired taste, but be it Blues or Gospel he conveys great emotional depth. I'm sorry but Delaney and Bonnie did blues, soul and r&b jam band material much better 30 years ago....more info
- Derek Trucks Already Free
I love this album. Derek Trucks is growing as an artist and this takes him on to another level. He gets more expressive with his slide each time out and this is no exception. If you like any of the previous stuff you'll love this one....more info
After having read the reviews here and elsewhere, I feel I have to voice a few disagreements... and a few agreements, of course.
Given the two-year hiatus between "Songlines" and "Already Free," I actually had less hope for "Already Free." I wasn't particularly a fan of "Songlines," though it had its moments for me. The live shows were where it was at for me; I have seen Derek Trucks with the Allman Brothers 3 times and with DTB 2 times, each show being a spectacle. I remember one in particular, last summer in Boulder, CO: My buddy took his brother with us, and after a 12-minute cover of "The Weight" (paying homage to Duane Allman's work with Aretha Franklin's version of the song), the kid goes, "... that's f***ing outrageous."
I was convinced that after "Songlines," the studio cuts that this band would put out would be more for the mainstream audience. Hell, I don't disagree that it would be a bad path to take: More people need to hear this man and his band. But to some extent we should wonder if the members of DTB really don't care.
So here's what I think of "Already Free": It's got to be the most wholesome album they've ever put out. (If not, it's a close second to "Joyful Noise.")
One thing that really put me off were the reviews that were expecting Derek to just go absolutely nuts, to rip up the scene and bring back the glory that he so eloquently brought to the slide guitar, and then saying he didn't do any of that on the entire album. (Yes, I found a few reviews like that.) That begs the question, did they just forget half of the album? Derek shines and delivers on well over half of the songs on "Already Free," and if you think he doesn't, just compare it to what he did on his other albums. Simply great work, and the rest of the band is tight as ever. I don't see how anyone could be disappointed.
Another I have to ask the columnists and reviewers that expected a "Soul Serenade" or some such slew of instrumental prowess: Do you even read the inserts in the CDs you probably get for free? It says right in the insert that "Already Free" is about togetherness, about family, about good music. This was recorded in Trucks' home studio, with family and friends abound. Why would this album be anything but what it is?
This is another successful step for DTB. It's just a natural progression: the debut instrumental insanity of "The Derek Trucks Band"; the ridiculously true blues of "Out of the Madness"; the simply phenomenal "Joyful Noise"; the jazzy "Soul Serenade"; the elemental live work on "Live At Georgia Theater"; the wordly "Songlines"; and finally, the wholesome "Already Free." Whether or not the band was shooting for the "mainstream" audience is irrelevant. They just want to write music, and that they do.
Particular favorites/highlights: "Down Don't Bother Me"; "I Know"
Particular lowlights: Doyle Bramhall II. Never really liked his voice, but the songwriting is still there.
And if you lost faith between "Songlines" and "Already Free," just go to a DTB concert. Your faith will be restored!...more info
- DEREK'S MOST ACCESSIBLE ALBUM YET
ALTHOUGH DEVOTED DTB FANS MAY BE A BIT DISAPPOINTED WITH THIS ALBUM B/C DEREK PLAYS UNDERSTATEDLY, I BELIEVE AS A WHOLE IT IS TREMENDOUS, SUBLIME AND I FEEL LIKE DTB CHANNELLED "JAMMED TOGETHER" BY ALBERT KING, POP STAPLES AND STEVE CROPPER PRIOR TO LAYING THIS ONE DOWN. CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM LIVE AGAIN AND IF THIS GUY DOES NOT WIN A GRAMMY FOR THIS ALBUM, THEN IT EXPLAINS ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THE MUSIC BIZ.
IF YOU DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DEREK TRUCKS THEN KNOW THIS - HE IS AT A YOUNG AGE ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST GUITARISTS - EVER. ...more info
- ALREADY FREE 4 1/2 *'S
After releasing the tour de force album SONGLINES in 2006, I have eagerly awaited the follow up from the very talented Derek Trucks Band. While the newly released ALREADY FREE does not match the majesty of SONGLINES, it's still is a very good album by one of the best working bands out there.
To me, this album represents a tightening of their eclectic approach to music, no doubt trying to consolidate their fame as a great live group. ALREADY FREE focuses on the blues/soul side of the band at the expense jazz/world fusion side. While I miss the expansive jams that have highlighted their previous releases, the focus on songcraft and tight ensemble playing does not diminish the joy factor too much. Derek and the band provide a solid set of tunes in a swamp-funk blues style while expanding their songwriting chops and serving up some choice covers. My favorites include the opening semi-obscure Dylan tune DOWN IN THE FLOOD, BACK WHERE I STARTED which features a great vocal turn by Mrs. Trucks, Susan Tedeshi, GET WHAT YOU DESERVE and the slide guitar showcase I KNOW. Actually, all the songs are pretty good, to my ears, there's no real weak link here. The copy that I received also has 3 bonus tracks including a back porch blues called THE CHICKEN ROBBER SONG and a slow simmering instrumental SWAMP, another highlight. Throughout the album the band provides solid backing and provides good space for Trucks to solo. With all his chops, Trucks does not showboat as a soloist. He articulates his message short and sweet and always perfectly within the context of the song.
I hope that by taking a more conservative direction on this release that the DTB can gain some more well deserved recognition. I also hope that with that recognition that the band does on occasion revisit the wide ranging influences that have made their previous albums such a treat for music lovers. In the meantime, I'm sure I'll be getting plenty of listening pleasure from this one.
- If you like mainstream rhythm-rock, you'll like this
I first saw Derek about 10 years ago when he opened for Austin bluesman Jake Andrews at the Rialto Theatre here in Tucson. By chance, the David Nelson Band was in town that night and playing three blocks away. I did some hustling, but I was able to check out Derek's opening set (sorry, Jake, I didn't stay for you), who even then as a teenager was phenomenal. I knew then, "this kid HAS IT." I wasn't wrong. After his set I hauled it to the David Nelson show and, though I missed a few songs, all in all it was a great night of music.
I give this three stars because I like when Derek immerses himself and lets the slide just wail. I love his guitar playing. It seems as if he's aiming to be more mainstream with this release and after sampling all the tracks, I decided not to download it. I own everything else he's recorded, as well as a bunch of live shows (I'm an old Deadhead tape/CD trader, so I've picked up a bunch of DTB shows along the way). The vocalist is way too prominent and Derek's guitar is far too back in the mix.
Ditch the singer and play all instrumentals, dude. It's what you do best.
By the way, if you're new to Derek, he plays Duane's parts in the Allman Brothers Band. I caught 'em in Mesa, Arizona, not long after he officially joined the ABB. It was the tour where the opening act was some up-and-coming blues singer named Susan Tedeschi who was just awesome! (For those who don't know, she's now his wife and makes a cameo on this CD. If you like the blues, she's hot on the axe and is definitely in line to take Bonnie Raitt's place when The Redhead calls it a day.)
I hate to give this just three stars, but I have to be honest. More guitar, less singing, more jamming, less mainstream pop-rock. PLEASE!...more info
- DTB just gets better and better!
I heard a track from this new DTB CD on the 'Blues Deluxe' radio show and the host said that more tracks will be featured on the program. I was SO impressed. Derek Trucks started out really good and gets even better with each new title. I'd recommend this new one to any music fan!...more info
- Already Free
I really like this CD. Very soulful ,great guitar and vocals.I can't find a thing wrong with this CD. GREAT JOB...more info
- Discovering the Derek Trucks Band "Already Free"
The Derek Trucks Band: Performing on their album "Already Free" , they are as good as The Allman Brothers Band. For me that says enough!
Great Album....more info
- The best once again
Absolutely wonderful. Listened to it twice all they way through the very first day. On my playlist. ...more info
- Outstanding soulful blues
Derek Trucks lives up to the high opinion that other musicians have of him. He has played with Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter, The Allman Brothers, and Susan Tedeschi (to whom he is married.)
Very good album that deserves to be in your library....more info
- The Best Ever DTB Album!
The first time I listened to Already Free, I loved it! There is so much depth to the music and lyrics, this is a soulful blend that gets better with every spin. It will speak to your soul. I find myself singing these songs and have told several friends about this new disc. I suggest taking the time to listen, you will enjoy. This is one for the ages! ...more info
- Awesome Songs for the Jam Band scene
Like the first reviewer stated Derek Trucks plays understandably on this album. Regardless Derek for his age and his history he an awesome performer/song writer. I have never seen his band live before. I missed him at Bonnaroo 2008 although I attended it. This album is good for him although this is the first true album of DTB that I have listened to. His voice is of a different world. I did see him play in Piedmont Park ATL, GA in Sept of 07 with The Allman Brothers Band as he is a current member with them as well. His talent and also his bands talents are awesome. This cd is up lifting kind of brings your soul up music if you listen to the words and flow. But this is my first album purchase of his....more info
- DEREK'S MOST ACCESSIBLE ALBUM YET
ALTHOUGH DEVOTED DTB FANS MAY BE A BIT DISAPPOINTED WITH THIS ALBUM B/C DEREK PLAYS UNDERSTATEDLY, I BELIEVE AS A WHOLE IT IS TREMENDOUS, SUBLIME AND I FEEL LIKE DTB CHANNELLED "JAMMED TOGETHER" BY ALBERT KING, POP STAPLES AND STEVE CROPPER PRIOR TO LAYING THIS ONE DOWN. CAN'T WAIT TO SEE HIM LIVE AGAIN AND IF THIS GUY DOES NOT WIN A GRAMMY FOR THIS ALBUM, THEN IT EXPLAINS ALL THAT IS WRONG WITH THE MUSIC BIZ....more info
- The Blues Side of DTB
I had been waiting for this album to come out for a long time, hoping that it would be worth my anticipation. It has certainly lived up to my expectations. You can definitely tell that this was an attempt by DTB to reach more of a mainstream audience, and is almost exclusively a blues/blues-rock album. I am partly disappointed about that, however, being a long-time fan a DTB for its style in mixing jazz, jazz-fusion, blues, soul and world music. That fusion aspect of the band is certainly lost in the record. That was most likely by design. Having said that, I think, for what the album is, is very good. A few of the songs do verge on boring, I feel. "Down Don't Bother Me" and "I Know" are easily my favorite songs on the record, already being partial to them because I had heard DTB play them in concert already. Also I think that the addition of Susan Tedeschi and Doyle Bramhall II on a few of the tunes adds a certain dimension to the record. As most may know, this album was recorded in Derek's home-built studio, and I think that home-grown aspect of it really shines through when you listen to the record. You can tell that everyone was very comfortable when they were recording, because you just get a vibe of relaxation. Derek's miraculous guitar playing is another common denominator in this equation. It really ties together the record and has a certain brightness to it that is exclusive to this album of DTB's. Great!...more info
- A step FORWARD from Songlines
I am already a Derek Trucks band fan. The band is extremely diverse musically, playing everything from Delta blues, R&B, latin, soul, gospel, and jazz fusion to Pakistani qawwali ... and they continually reinvent the songs they play (e.g., many versions of Soul Serenade). Already Free seems more focused, and more polished, than the band's other studio work ... perhaps because they had all the time they wanted in the new Trucks/Tedeschi home studio. Overall, Already Free is my favorite studio album yet.
Already Free has a throwback feel, and seems to build on the Soul Stew Revival theme that Derek and his wife (Susan Tedeschi) were promoting in their recent tour. In an interview with Ryan Sparks, Derek described it as domestic/American roots, and less "in your face and obvious" than prior work. In his words: "It doesn't feel like there's something to prove or that it has to have extended guitar solos all over the place. Not that the next record won't have that, but I feel this was a nice diversion from that and a much more song oriented record."
I bought the "Down in the Flood" MP3 before the album's release, and loved it from the start. The song (a Bob Dylan cover) starts acoustic, shifts to funky electric, and builds to a crescendo like many of the best DTB tunes. Other favorites: "I Know", "Down Don't Bother Me" and "Sweet Inspiration" (a classic that Carlos Santana apparently convinced the band to play ... reminds me of a Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues). The remainder of the album ... particularly "Something to Make You Happy", "Days is Almost Gone" and "Our Love" ... grew on me the more I listened and adjusted to the different tone of this album.
"Down Don't Bother Me" exemplifies my reaction to the entire album. I have heard the band perform "Down Don't Bother Me" before (Gothic Theatre, Denver, 3/4/05), loved it, and couldn't wait to hear the studio version. I was originally drawn to the band by Derek's piercing tone, and the studio version is decidedly less raw. However, the song has a nice groove, and it builds into one great guitar solo, and then another. In the end, "Down Don't Bother Me" became one of my favorite songs on the album. Both approaches to the song are good, and the band's ability to reinvent good songs ... even their own ... is one reason I am such a fan.
Already Free is being criticized as a step back from Songlines, and for having a "mainstream" or "commercial" sound. Personally, excluding Chevrolet and Crow Jane, I think that the best of Songlines was drawn from material that the band was already performing and/or had already recorded on Live at the Georgia Theatre. I don't want to bash Songlines (at least not much), but Already Free expands on the band's prior work, and Songlines looks more like an attempt to reach new fans with existing music. I don't like the "too commercial" criticism, but I also don't think that it applies to Already Free. Revolution (written solely by Songlines' producer) is the band's most "commercial" song, and the fact that the band has only performed it ONCE (according to dtbsetlists.com) suggests that Revolution doesn't fit the band's musical tastes.
I also don't get the "Allman Brothers Light" reference. I think that it's a mistake to think of DTB as an ABB derivative, despite Derek's relationship with both bands. DTB covers a broader range of styles, and you'll miss the breadth of their talent, and their musical influences, if you judge them by reference to the ABB. Having said that, I don't see how any Duane Allman fan can avoid falling in love with Derek's guitar work, on this album and every other thing he does. If he's not the heir to Duane Allman's legacy, who is?...more info