Tedeschi Vehicles Band’s I Am the Moon

Typically the universe brings collectively timeless energies that appear destined to blow up into a lovely new creation. All they want is the suitable folks to harness them and unlock their potential. Within the case examined right here, these energies included an historical Persian love story, a legendary ’70s rock album, the sometimes-painful realities of relationships, and a worldwide pandemic. The individuals are the wife-and-husband guitar duo of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Vehicles, together with the ten different members of their Tedeschi Vehicles Band (TTB). The creation? A four-part multimedia masterwork titled I Am the Moon.

As their followers know, Tedeschi, who’d constructed her profession on stinging Tele tones and probably the most soulful blues voices in fashionable music, and Vehicles, an electrical slide prodigy who first made waves as a solo artist earlier than becoming a member of the Allman Brothers Band, met in 1999, fell in love, married, and began a household. In 2010, their careers united as properly once they shaped TTB with a rotating forged of equally distinctive musicians. Many excursions, 4 studio albums, a Grammy, and eight Blues Music Awards later, TTB has grow to be one thing extra akin to a rambling roots-music collective than a band.

Tragedy struck the ensemble in February 2019, with the demise of authentic band member and multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge (brother of former TTB bassist Oteil Burbridge). The group was devastated. Then, whereas nonetheless coping with the lack of their expensive good friend, Covid put a tough cease to your complete music trade. One thing needed to give.

Tedeschi Vehicles Band – I Am The Moon: Episode I. Crescent

“After the lack of Kofi and Covid, we felt like we would have liked to onerous reset to determine the place we had been,” Vehicles observes. Away from the street, Tedeschi and Vehicles poured their power into the relationships that matter most—their very own household.

“When the lockdown occurred, our son was transferring on to school,” Tedeschi says. “There was an actual sense of, ‘That is our final actual cling time with him.’ It was very nice to be in a spot with our children the place none of us might go anyplace, and we really obtained to spend actual high quality time collectively.”

In line with Tedeschi, sending their son off into the world impressed one in every of I Am The Moon’s songs, “La Di Da.” However Covid and a tough goodbye had been solely two of the energies coalescing into what can be TTB’s most bold challenge.

In the meantime, Mike Mattison, TTB vocalist and guitarist, was immersing himself within the seventh-century poem Layla and Majnun, credited to Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, and the 1970 album it impressed, Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Different Assorted Love Songs. The band had already been inspecting the musical facet of those works and had recorded a reside rendition of the Layla album, with visitor Trey Anastasio, on the 2019 Lockn’ Competition. That efficiency was launched as Layla Revisited Dwell at Lockn’ in Might 2021. The poem is taken into account the East’s Romeo and Juliet. It follows two lovers via a timeless story of ardour, pleasure, separation, and demise. Eric Clapton and Duane Allman’s collaboration targeted closely on Manjun’s facet of the story. And Mattison wished to provide it a twist.

Initially, TTB’s members started to work on the I Am the Moon album cycle aside throughout lockdown, however they amassed at Derek and Susan’s residence when it was time to file.

Photograph by David McClister

“He had been kicking round this concept of taking the Layla idea and flipping it on its head—serious about the story from Layla’s perspective,” Vehicles says. “He reached out to everybody within the band with a suggestion that all of us dig into the poem whereas we’re at residence, earlier than we might actually get collectively. The idea was to maintain everybody tight.”

With the members immersing themselves in Layla and Majnun, the inventive juices rapidly started flowing. However to seize the outcomes, Tedeschi and Vehicles would want to deliver your complete band collectively. So, after a whirlwind of quarantining, vaccines, and unfavorable take a look at outcomes, TTB’s gamers moved in with Susan and Derek. “They got here down and lived with us, the core of the band,” say Vehicles. “As soon as a number of of the songs had been written, that creativity began actually inspiring all people and sparking concepts. It had its personal gravity at that time. I’ve by no means been part of something fairly prefer it.”

“It was good having no guidelines and no time constraints and with the ability to let issues move and occur organically.”—Susan Tedeschi

Many songs and preparations had been created within the second, proper on the studio ground. In line with Vehicles, that gave the recordings the power of being onstage. “We monitor with the core of the band. It’s two drums, bass, me and Sue, and keyboards. Sue’s often in a vocal sales space, both with a guitar and a quiet amp within the room or an amp in one other room. I’m arrange in the identical room because the drummers with a giant tent round my amp. So, it felt much more prefer it feels onstage after we’re exploring.”

Whereas many songs had been introduced in by particular person band members, Tedeschi agrees that the relaxed, open setting was essential to the songwriting course of. “It was actually cool to listen to a few of the issues that the opposite musicians had been developing with,” she says. “The boys would play the riff or one thing, like on ‘All of the Love,’ and it was actually enjoyable to sing in opposition to. I used to be attempting to absorb all the pieces that was happening within the second, in addition to the poem. So, as Derek was saying earlier, it was good having no guidelines and no time constraints and with the ability to let issues move and occur organically.”

Derek Vehicles’ Gear

Vehicles’ major instrument for I Am the Moon was the fourth prototype for the Gibson Customized Store’s Dickey Betts SG VOS.

Photograph by David McClister


  • Gibson Customized Store Dickey Betts SG VOS prototype No. 4
  • 1965 Gibson ES-335
  • Sixties Supro tuxedo end
  • Classic Nationwide resonator
  • Classic Gibson Roy Smeck acoustic
  • Nineteen Thirties Gibson L-00 with DeArmond pickup
  • Numerous classic Martin acoustics


  • Early ’60s Fender Deluxe
  • Nineteen Fifties tweed Fender Deluxe
  • Leslie cupboard
  • Classic Echoplex
Strings & Slide
  • DR Customs
  • Coricidin bottle slide

That freedom additionally applies to Vehicles’ solos. “They’re all improv, largely,” he says. “The solos are reside on the ground as a result of they’re what’s main the monitor at that second. Among the solos you positively take into consideration greater than others, however loads of them, they occur naturally. That appears to be the easiest way.”

Although Vehicles’ thick tone and inimitable slide work are throughout almost each music, Tedeschi’s rhythm enjoying drives the entire challenge. And when the 2 reduce heads, as on “Taking part in With My Feelings,” it’s pure blues-rock magic. “‘Taking part in With My Feelings’ was really within the second,” Tedeschi remembers. “Derek seems to be over at me and is like, ‘Play!’ I’m like, ‘Oh, okay.’” [laughs]

“I haven’t used any Echoplexes or Leslies and issues like that on our stuff. One in all as of late, I’ll get into it.”—Susan Tedeschi

“It’s enjoyable when, thematically, that is sensible,” Vehicles says. “Nevertheless it wasn’t written or scripted after we went to that. Me and Sue, we play the dueling-guitar stuff reside. An outdated good friend, Colonel Bruce Hampton, would name them guitarguments.” [laughs]

“Taking part in With My Feelings” completely illustrates each gamers’ strategy to tone. Vehicles is all about his signature, pushed slide sound, which is completely offset by Tedeschi’s cleaner-yet-still-biting Tele.

Susan Tedeschi’s Gear

Tedeschi performed her 1970 Fender Stratocaster for the periods. TTB followers often see this guitar, in addition to her longtime favourite, a ’90s Telecaster, in live performance.

Photograph by David McClister


  • Nineties Fender Telecaster
  • Late 2000s Gretsch White Falcon
  • 1970 Fender Stratocaster
Strings & Picks


  • 1964 Fender Deluxe Reverb
  • 1968 Vox Clyde McCoy wah (reward from Jorma Kaukonen)

“I used to be utilizing my Tele via my ’64 Deluxe [Reverb],” she says. “No matter got here out in that second is what you bought. I had each intention to return in later and re-do it, but it surely by no means occurred.”

In the event you’ve seen Tedeschi onstage, you’ve in all probability seen that Telecaster. It’s additionally featured on the quilt of her breakout solo album, Simply Gained’t Burn. However, as Vehicles remembers, the Tele wasn’t her solely go-to for these periods. She additionally performed her 1970 Fender Strat, and a Gretsch White Falcon on “Circles ’Around the Solar.”

Vehicles employed a wider vary of devices to cowl the music’s acoustic, resonator, and electrical tones. “I feel on ‘Fall In,’ I’m utilizing a Nationwide that we ended up working via an outdated Supro amp,” Vehicles says. “And I’ve this outdated Supro [a 1960s tuxedo model] guitar that I exploit as properly. We used loads of completely different acoustic guitars. I’ve a Nineteen Thirties Gibson L-00 that has an outdated DeArmond pickup, like Elmore James, that I used a number of occasions. I feel on ‘Emmaline’ I used to be enjoying that. I’ve an outdated Gibson Roy Smeck. And there are a number of outdated Martins that we use.” Within the studio, Derek goes for early-Sixties Fender Deluxes.

“Me and Sue, we play the dueling guitar stuff reside. An outdated good friend, Colonel Bruce Hampton, would name them guitarguments.”—Derek Vehicles

Though they use related amps, Tedeschi and Vehicles take wildly completely different approaches to their sounds. “I haven’t actually achieved a ton of experimenting but,” stated Tedeschi. “I have not used any Echoplexes or Leslies and issues like that on our stuff. These are all actually enjoyable, however for essentially the most half, on this file, I’m enjoying vibrato or a wah. One in all as of late, I’ll get into it. I don’t know why I haven’t. I do get pleasure from doing that.”

Whereas sticking to tones with loads of classic vibe, Vehicles explores a bit extra. His solely rule is it has to sound nice within the monitor. “Loads of occasions, me and Bobby T [longtime TTB recording engineer and road manager Bobby Tis] would experiment,” he says. “I might at all times have a second amplifier upstairs being recorded for some additional room sound. Loads of occasions, we might put a classic Echoplex on it for a bit little bit of smudge. I might use that outdated Supro typically with that setup. I might plug into the Leslie fairly a bit, too, for sure overdubs or a music like ‘Circles ’Around the Solar.’ It suppose that music is my guitar going via my Deluxe and an precise Leslie, which is a reasonably nice sound. Then there’s one or two songs the place I took the solo on a tweed Deluxe. Nevertheless it’s humorous. You may get a sound on the ground that sounds unbelievable, and you then take a solo and also you understand it’s both too little of one thing or an excessive amount of of one thing.”

Rig Rundown – Tedeschi Vehicles Band

Tedeschi has used her Tele for gathering autographs over time. Simply readable are signatures from B.B. King. Hubert Sumlin, John Lee Hooker, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. Try the reside gear utilized by Derek and Susan.

Vehicles’ standout second comes early within the four-album assortment as he guides the band via the one instrumental, I Am the Moon: I. Crescent’s closing monitor, “Pasaquan.” Clocking in at over 12 minutes, the music is an element Allman-style jam, half Center Japanese melodicism, and half Floydian expanse. With a music like that, Vehicles knew the band needed to nail it. It needed to sound electrifying.

“I didn’t wish to play it greater than a few times in a row, ever,” says Vehicles. “I wished to make it possible for, after we did seize it, it might be spontaneous. We actually took wildly completely different approaches every time we performed it.” Vehicles additionally took an uncharacteristic strategy to each his gear and method on “Pasaquan.”

“I used a 1965 335 on it and tuned all the way down to D. I noticed there was no different solution to get that sound. It’s made for that tune. And it’s all fingers. Over years of being onstage with the Allman Brothers, you’d must improvise fairly a bit in numerous methods, so that you get your chops up for that.”

Concerning the chapters of I Am the MoonI. Crescent, II. Ascension, III. The Fall, IV. Farewell—Vehicles says, “We had this episodic idea fairly early on, and we had the album titles fairly early on. We had been listening to loads of vinyl, and I began realizing that every one of our favourite information had been reduce for vinyl, which is 35 or 40 minutes. We knew we had the correct amount of fabric for that, and it labored.”

“We monitor with the core of the band. It’s two drums, bass, me and Sue, and keyboards.”—Derek Vehicles

All 4 episodes had been launched a month aside to let listeners soak up every album of the saga to its fullest. However collectively, a lovely story of affection, distance, creation, and saying goodbye unfolds. This strategy to releasing the albums paid off, and followers embraced the music sooner than any earlier TTB title.

“After we did the primary present of this summer season tour, I feel we performed two of our outdated authentic tunes, after which we did the entire Crescent file, begin to end,” Vehicles says. “We had been a bit bit shocked at how properly it went. Often, if you escape new materials, there’s a bit little bit of air that goes out of the room. This time round, it appeared like folks linked with it fairly early on. Even after we’d get achieved enjoying the brand new stuff and return to a few of our older stuff, it didn’t have the identical weight.”

It’s not onerous to grasp why so many individuals join with I Am the Moon. It offers with the common experiences of human relationships—creating what Tedeschi sees as a timeless, cross-cultural connection.

“The poem was fascinating, as a result of you may have loads of completely different correlations with household and the way all people’s affected by one another,” she says. “Right here, Layla is in a scenario the place she’s in love, and she or he has to have the ability to let go of it. She has to have the ability to say goodbye although she doesn’t wish to. I assumed it had a parallel to with the ability to let go and say goodbye to my son. It was the proper story and the proper idea for that point.”

YouTube It

Watch Susan and Derek and their comrades in music play the title monitor from their multi-media extravaganza, I Am the Moon. Oh, and remember to cling for Derek’s epic slide solo at 4:25!

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