Ramblin’ Rhodes: Tedeschi Trucks Band has history with Augusta

Just a few days ago Derek Trucks joined celebrities Cher, Otis Redding III, Peter Frampton and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in having special seats at the funeral in Macon, Ga., of superstar Southern rocker Gregg Allman.


He certainly had as much a reason and right to be there since he toured for 15 years as guitarist with The Allman Brothers Band along with his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks, who died last January.

It’s a good bet that Trucks will be honoring his uncle and the late Allman when he returns to Bell Auditorium with his vocalist and guitar-playing wife, Susan Tedeschi, for a concert by the Tedeschi Trucks Band at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13. Tickets are $19.50-$79.50 from georgialinatix.com, (877) 428-4849 and at the James Brown Arena Box Office.

Augusta holds a special place in the heart and soul of Trucks who as a seventh-grader at age 12 opened in 1992 for the band Lynyrd Skynyrd at Bell Auditorium.That same fall, the pre-teen began playing at local nightclubs including the Red Lion on Walton Way and Post Office on Washington Road.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band is touring in support of its newly-released album, Live From The Fox Oakland, recorded in September 2016 in California in both CD and DVD formats.

Known worldwide for its traditional soul sounds, the big band in the style of James Brown’s Soul Generals sold out three nights in early March at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. They then launched another European tour that included stops in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy and The Netherlands.

Their first show after a break in the states was to perform May 27 as the first act at the Daily’s Place, 5,500-seat amphitheater built adjacent to the EverBank Field home stadium of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team.Without a doubt, it had to be one of the most memorable concerts for the couple who live just off the Johns River in Jacksonville and who have been long-time fans of the Jaguars.

“We are really excited to be playing at the Daily’s amphitheater,” Susan said by phone from her home just a few days before the show.

“Derek and I are huge Jags fans,” she continued. “I was a big football fan before I hooked up with Derek. I really was the first person to sing for the Jaguars at their kick-off party in ’95 at a blues festival before I was living down here.

“They invited me to play because Tom Coughlin (the Jaguars first coach and former New York Giants Super Bowl coach) had been head coach at Boston College, and I was from Boston.”

The Boston-born singer, in fact, had attended the Berklee College of Music in that city singing in a gospel choir; had performed Broadway show songs regularly on the tourist boat Spirit of Boston and had fronted the popular area Soul Stew Revival and Susan Tedeschi Band.

“So it’s a funny, small world how everything comes together,” she said. “I got to meet the Weavers (Jaguars owners Wayne and Delores Weaver), and the mayor of Jacksonville when the team first started off.”

Several years ago, Susan and Derek also got to meet Augusta soul legend Sharon Jones. The Tedeschi Trucks Band and Jones’ band The Dap Kings toured heavily together the summer of 2015.

“She was a real firecracker,” Tedeschi recalled of Jones who died in November 2016. “It was a really good opportunity for both bands to become friends as well as just really respect what our bands were doing. There was a lot of mutual love.

“Sharon was just so sweet. It was really great getting to work with her. Alecia Chakour who is in our band (backup vocals) had been friends with her for a long time. Alecia’s brother, Alex Chakour, was in the Dap Kings. So not only were we close in friends but there were family ties as well.”

Tedeschi said those times on the road were filled with conversations about music, food, working out, traveling and, of course, fishing, which Jones loved almost as much as music.

“Derek is a big fisherman, and I am, too. Our son is obsessed with fishing. We were just fishing in the Bahamas.”

When we talked about how Jones loved coming home to the Augusta area from a hectic tour and being able to lead a quiet life virtually unrecognized, Susan said that she also is able to do that in suburban Jacksonville in being the mother to their children, Charles and Sophia.

“I’m like that, but Derek isn’t,” she said. “I blend in. Nobody recognizes me, which is great because I can be ‘mom’ and go to the grocery store. Some people do recognize me when I’m with Derek, and they put it together.”

Here are a few upcoming events to keep in mind:

AARON WATSON: Texas-born country rocker Aaron Watson, who grew up in Amarillo, will perform songs off his new album, Vaquero, at 10 p.m. Friday, June 9, at the Country Club Dance Hall &Saloon, 2834 Washington Road. Tickets are $15.

MORE on SHARON JONES: Yours truly is helping the Nancy Carson Library in North Augusta, 134 Edgefield Road, remember the city’s late resident Sharon Jones with a free talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15. I’ll be showing about seven of her videos and talking about her fabulous life achieved after growing up poor and her many musical contributions.

HANK WILLIAMS JR.: You can bet next week that a bunch of Hank Williams Jr.’s “rowdy friends will be coming over tonight” when he rocks James Brown Arena starting at 8 p.m. Friday, June 16. Tickets are $34.50-$89.50.

TRAVIS TRITT: Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee Travis Tritt will be back in town for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1, at Bell Auditorium. Tickets are $27-$47. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three decades since Tritt’s debut album (I’m A Member Of The) Country Club and hit Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares) came out.

GRETCHEN WILSON: Grammy-nominated country singer Gretchen Wilson, known for her hit singles Redneck Woman, Here for the Party, Homewrecker and When I Think About Cheatin’, returns to the area for the Gurls’ Night Out concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 7, at the Columbia County Amphitheater in Evans. Tickets are $25. Visit gurlsnightout.com.

SALUTE TO OUTSTANDING ARTISTS: It’s that time again for the Greater Augusta Arts Council to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations “who have made a significant contribution to the arts community in Augusta.”

Anyone can buy the $40 tickets for the recognition dinner from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22, at Enterprise Mill Events Center, 1450 Greene St. Reserve tickets online at augustaarts.com.

Honorees this year are: President’s Award, Morris Museum of Art; Artist Award, Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman (originator of the “Happy” robot); Arts Professional Award, audio specialist Trey Maxwell; Volunteer Award, Sue Alexanderson, president of Friends of Symphony Orchestra Augusta; Media Award, Mary Frances Hendrix, editor of The Augusta Chronicle’s Applause section; and Sponsor Award, Gold Mech contractors, founded in Augusta 40 years ago.


WHO The Tedeschi Trucks Band featuring Grammy-winning Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks

WHEN: 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 13

WHERE: Bell Auditorium

COST: $19.50-$79.50; georgialinatix.com, (877) 428-4849 and at the James Brown Arena Box Office