When: Fri., July 14, 7 p.m. 2017
"I don't really know how to describe what I do," Susan Tedeschi says. "I just sing. I play guitar too, but the singing aspect is more of a gospel approach to singing over blues or country or R & B or soul music." Her mix blends well with the guitar work of Derek Trucks, her bandmate and husband, which he says was mainly influenced by Bukka White and Charlie Christian.
"He just had such an aggressive sound, but it wasn't really over the top. It was really elegant while being urgent at the same time," Trucks says of Christian. "With Bukka, you could tell he could unleash at any time, but a lot of his stuff was really melodic—you take little things from each guy."
The pair's latest record, Tedeschi Trucks Band Live From the Fox Oakland, has only four original numbers, but all of the covers are magnificent. Tedeschi soaks Leonard Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" with anguished gospel soul, and the pair resurrects the spirit of the Allman Brothers on "Leavin' Trunk." Tedeschi pays homage to Bobby "Blue" Bland, covering "I Pity the Fool" with throat-ripping intensity while Trucks surrounds her with a barrage of killer guitar licks.
The Wood Brothers lend their considerable soul to the occasion, too, taking an opening slot. The group's recent Live at the Barn echoes a stripped-down version of The Band's sound, recorded at Levon Helm's Woodstock Studio, where it had played many times as Helm's special guests. Before forming the Wood Brothers in 2004, brother Oliver played slithery swamp funk in King Johnson, while Chris Wood spent two decades in Medeski, Martin and Wood's jazz groove ensemble. The two added Jano Rix on vocals, percussion, keys, and another contraption he calls a "shuitar."
This summer tour is sweetened even further with a charitable element: the Wheels of Soul tour is sponsored by Craft for Causes. The nonprofit teams up with local brewers who create limited-edition brews to benefit the Mr Holland's Opus Foundation, a charity that preserves and promotes musical education. In every host city, a participating local brewery also helps with fundraising to provide instruments for underprivileged youth. Those beers have already been underway: Raleigh Brewing Company tapped its Rye Kolsch for the occasion on June 1, and Raleigh's Crank Arm Brewing put out its Kolsch on June 14. Cary's Bond Brothers Beer Company also jumps onboard with its Blueberry Vanilla Berliner Weisse on June 14. —Grant Britt