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Exclusive: Derek Trucks on future Allman Brothers album, reuniting with Betts

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Derek Trucks 2013 AP

Derek Trucks performs at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival 2013 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 13, 2013 in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

While Gregg Allman serenaded a capacity crowd Wednesday with his solo group in Sarasota, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes shocked Allman Brothers Band fans with a joint statement that they are leaving the iconic rock group at the end of the year. Trucks, who joined the Allman Brothers in 1999, said he plans to concentrate on his own Derek Trucks Band and the Tedeschi Trucks Band he co-leads with his wife, singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi, as well as spend more time with their children.

The Grammy Award-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band headlines the second annual Sunshine Music & Blues Festival Jan.18 in Boca Raton and Jan. 19 in St. Petersburg. Trucks called the Herald-Tribune on Tuesday (Jan. 7) to advance the festival he helps curate but the talk soon turned to the Allman Brothers Band, which despite regular touring haven’t released a new studio record since 2003’s critically acclaimed “Hittin' the Note.”

“I would love for there to be one more great Allman Brothers Band album,” Trucks said by phone from his Jacksonville home. “It’s all about taking time to focus. I feel like if it’s something Gregg and the other original members want to do, and if they spearhead it, I’ll be right there. I have a lot of shit on my agenda, but if everyone said yes, I’d jump in with both feet. I know with the songwriters in the band we could get it done and have it be a true collaboration. But, to be honest, I wouldn’t want to do an Allman Brothers Band record if it’s not in the right spirit.”

Dickey Betts Derek Trucks Tedeschi

Sarasota resident and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dickey Betts, left, backstage with guitarists Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (right). Betts performed with the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Betts and Derek Trucks shared guitar duties in the Allman Brothers Band from 1999 to 2000. COURTESY PHOTO / DICKEYBETTS.COM

At the Sunshine Music & Blues Festival, attendees can expect to hear Trucks’ sharp songwriting skills and brilliant slide guitar playing on songs from the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s latest album “Made Up My Mind” as well as the group’s 2011 debut “Revelator.” The latter, the group’s debut, won the Grammy Award for Best Blues Album. There’s also the chance concertgoers might hear some Allman Brothers Band classics, especially if founding member Dickey Betts decides to make the drive from his home in Sarasota.

“Dickey is always welcome with our group anytime,” Trucks said. “Just tell us what tune you want to play.”

As previously reported, Betts joined the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Sept. 21 at the Beacon Theatre in New York for several numbers including Betts’ landmark Allman Brothers instrumental “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” and “Blue Sky,” Betts’ first vocal performance with the Allman Brothers and one of the last studio recordings to feature Betts playing guitar with the legendary Duane Allman.

“I’ve seen some amazing crowd responses at the Beacon like Clapton guesting but never have I felt it as much as with Dickey,” Trucks said. “There is a lot of love for him and a lot of people really excited to see him back on stage. It was a moment for sure and Dickey was great and such a sweetheart. I grew up listening to him and his music and I have such respect for what he has done, him and his son Duane in Great Southern.”

Betts, whose current group is Great Southern and features his son Duane on guitar, played with Trucks in the Allman Brothers Band for about two years. They can be heard sharing guitar duties on the Allman Brothers’ 2000 live album “Peakin’ at the Beacon,” culled from the group’s performances that year at the Beacon Theatre. Gregg Allman and the other original band members suspended Dickey from the group, leading to a permanent split, the same year. Those original surviving Allman Brothers Band members include drummer Butch Trucks, Derek's uncle. The Allman Brothers Band are scheduled to perform tonight the Fox Theater in Atlanta for a tribute to their lead singer dubbed, "All My Friends: Celebrating the Songs and Voice of Gregg Allman." The Allman Brothers return to Live Oak for the group’s 10th annual Wanee Festival April 10-12.

“Dickey has always been a gentleman to me,” Trucks said. “My one regret with the Allman Brothers Band saga is watching the way everything has gone down (with Betts). I would love to see everyone on stage together but I realize there are a lot of feelings. But I also feel the music they created together is bigger than the personal shit. To see it them one last time together would do a lot of people a lot of good.”

SUNSHINE MUSIC & BLUES FESTIVAL
Tedeschi Trucks Band with Leon Russell, Galactic, JJ Grey, Hot Tuna, Stanley Clarke, The Ringers featuring Jimmy Herring, Tab Benoit (Boca Raton date only), Bobby Lee Rogers and Oli Brown.
11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18; Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19; Vinoy Park, 501 5th Ave. NE., St Petersburg; $62.50-$116.50 (per show); sunshinemusicandblues.com.

SUNSHINE MUSIC & BLUES FESTIVAL
Tedeschi Trucks Band with Leon Russell, Galactic, JJ Grey, Hot Tuna, Stanley Clarke, The Ringers featuring Jimmy Herring, Tab Benoit (Boca Raton date only), Bobby Lee Rogers and Oli Brown.
11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18; Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 19; Vinoy Park, 501 5th Ave. NE., St Petersburg; $62.50-$116.50 (per show); sunshinemusicandblues.com.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: January 23, 2014
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