Back To The River
"Susan Tedeschi "
Verve Forcast

Blues Wax 7
Reader Rating 7

Back To The River With Soul, (12/31/08)

Susan Tedeschi's Back To The River is her second album for the Verve Forecast label. Tedeschi co-wrote ten of the eleven tracks included, the one cover being Allen Toussaint's "Break in the Road." This late-arriving 2008 recording is mostly produced by George Drakoulias, plus one track by Tedeschi's husband Derek Trucks, who also plays on four tunes. That other Clapton alumnus, Doyle Bramhall II, also plays on three tracks.

Standouts come towards the end of the disc. "Love Will" is a Soul/Funk affair that is co-written by Tedeschi, Trucks, and Tommy Simms, where it is interesting to note that Trucks does not play here even though he shares songwriting credit. Tracks seven through eleven flow sweetly, starting with "Learning the Hard Way," which has a Carlos Santana vibe. "Revolutionize Your Soul," features great guitar work from Trucks, and checkout the sharp horn charts on this soulful tune. The sweet Soul groove continues with "True," which once again features excellent horn arrangements, as does Allen Toussaint's "Break In The Road," which was originally recorded by Betty Harris in 1969. The closing "Can't Sleep At Night" (the only song solely credited to Tedeschi) is a straight Blues and dots the "I's" and crosses the "T's" on this very fine recording.

What is immediately obvious is how mature Tedeschi's vocals have grown, as well as her songwriting abilities. Susan Tedeschi has already recorded several smart albums and she continues to show growth. I feel that at her youthful age (Tedeschi is not forty years old yet) that her best music will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, you should enjoy Back To The River and look forward to Tedeschi's ongoing evolution.

Bob Putignano: