Derek Trucks started young, and it shows

At 27, the guitarist has already played with the Allman Brothers Band and Eric Clapton

November 02, 2006|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

Slide guitarist Derek Trucks is something of a child prodigy -- even at age 27.

In addition to the Derek Trucks Band, which plays Rams Head Live tomorrow night, Trucks is a member of the Allman Brothers Band and recently finished touring with Eric Clapton. Most of Trucks' musical peers are at least a generation older than he. Some of them are more than twice his age. It's been that way since he started touring regularly at age 10 or 11.

But looking back, Trucks said, he doesn't regret spending his teenage years on the road.

"I've been really fortunate. I was home enough to see what everyone else was doing, and I have no illusions about what it would have been," Trucks said. "I feel fortunate."

Success came at a steady climb for the blond, baby-faced Trucks. He looked to the guitar for enjoyment -- not stardom, he said. That helped him avoid the pitfalls most child whizzes face, he said.

"We could fill a small blues club and then we could fill a large blues club and a small theater," Trucks said. "It kind of progressed until where we are now. I didn't feel stuff was coming at me too quick to process it."

In his early 20s, Trucks became a member of the Allman Brothers Band. Live, he fills the space once occupied by slide guitar demi-god Duane Allman. Much like the late Duane, who formed the band with his brother Gregg, Trucks has family ties to the band. His uncle, drummer Butch Trucks, is a founding member of the group.

Figures like his uncle have been there to help guide Trucks' career and keep things in perspective, he said. He knew all along if he had to pull the ripcord, he could.

"I knew I wasn't stuck doing anything," Trucks said. "It's good to have either certain music to keep you in your place or people to tell you where you actually stand. A little humility goes a long way in this business."

On this tour, Trucks' band shares a bill with the Susan Tedeschi Band. Trucks and Tedeschi married several years ago and now have a 4-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter. Both of the kids came with them on the road, he said.

Between his band, his wife's band, the Allman Brothers and the Eric Clapton group, Trucks' life is one mish-mash of musical families. But that's the way it should be, he said.

"Music in the beginning was communal," Trucks said. "That's what it was about. Music wasn't commerce until recently. It was played to bring people together. ... It seems like it's really gotten away from that. With a group like ours, we feel like it's kind of our duty to keep that rolling a little bit."

The Derek Trucks Band plays Rams Head Live with the Susan Tedeschi Band tomorrow. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $33 in advance and $37 the day of the show. Rams Head Live is at 20 Market Place in Power Plant Live. Call 410-244-1131 or go to ramsheadlive.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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