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Tedeschi Trucks Band – Signs album review

The 12-piece band are back with their finest album yet.

Tedeschi Trucks Band
Credit: Shervin Lainez
Tedeschi Trucks Band - Signs

Credit: Snakefarm Records

Led by married couple Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Tedeschi Trucks Band formed back in 2010. Based in Jacksonville, Florida the band, which currently consists of 12 members, released debut album Revelator in 2011. Since then Tedeschi Trucks Band have released another two studio albums and all three of their releases have charted in the Top 15 on the Billboard 200 in the US. 3 years after the release of Let Me Get By, the band is releasing new album Signs.

Fusing Blues, Soul, R&B and Americana Signs sees Tedeschi Trucks Band continuing to forge their own path in music. This isn’t just a group of mates recording some tunes, this is a very skilled band bursting with musicians at the top of their game. Opener Signs, High Times gives you a flavour of what’s to come and it finds the band speaking frankly through their lyrics. While the music may sound uptempo and groovy, there’s a very serious message underpinning the track, and indeed the whole album. During these troubled times, Tedeschi Trucks Band are here to hope for change, instil optimism in the listener and deliver some of the most finely crafted songs of their career.

The intensity of Signs is something that really hits you. There’s so much to unpack both lyrically and musically. I’m Gonna Be Here as an example. The song is full of intricate riffs and melodies with Tedeschi’s voice hitting you in the sweet spot as she assures you she’ll be there through the dark and difficult times. The last 2 minutes of the song centre on an intense guitar riff while gospel-tinged backing vocals crank the tension up even further. No one trick ponies, the band then changes the tempo with When Will I Begin, one of the album’s slower and more contemplative moments.

Elsewhere on the record the bluesy Hard Case offers a relief from some of the weightier moments, Strengthen What Remains is a gorgeously understated track that allows Tedeschi’s voice to take most of the glory, and They Don’t Shine will have you stomping your feet to the beat with its soulful groove. One of the strongest moments is the Stevie Wonder-esque Shame, which could easily be a lost gem from the Motown era. The musicianship is so tight and Tedeschi’s voice so affecting, you can’t help but be moved by the track.

The Ending brings the album to a close and it’s another stripped-down moment. Pairing Tedeschi’s powerful voice with an acoustic guitar, it’s a stark contrast to the rest of the record. It’s an emotive final song dealing with loss and you’ll undoubtedly get goosebumps listening to it.

Signs is a strong record for Tedeschi Trucks Band and one that should easily match, if not better, their previous sales and chart positions. Even if you took out Tedeschi’s incredible voice, there would still be so much to enjoy here. Every single song is complex, layered and honest but with Tedeschi’s voice leading the charge, it cranks everything up to a more heightened level. Signs could have a very broad appeal and it’s going to make for some incredible live shows.

Track list: 1. Signs, High Times 2. I’m Gonna Be There 3. When Will I Begin 4. Walk Through This Life 5. Strengthen What Remains 6. Still Your Mind 7. Hard Case 8. Shame 9. All the World 10. They Don’t Shine 11. The Ending Record label: Snakefarm Records Release date: 15th February 2019 Buy Signs

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