Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

SUSAN TEDESCHI

BACK TO THE RIVER

2008-12-02

Thirteen years, several discs, a husband (Derek Trucks) and two kids separate Susan Tedeschi from her 1995 debut Better Days. So how has time treated her? Very well, thank you. The gloriously versatile voice that takes her from a sly, sexy Bonnie Raitt disciple to a raucous Janis Joplin lioness remains in full throttle. This time around she applies it to mostly self-penned or co-written tracks that stay pretty far away from the standard blues cannon of hard times and cheating, no good, lovers. Instead she looks at a whole host of topics including the need to move on despite disaster, "700 Houses", getting whipsawed by advice from everyone when the only true answer to her issues is love, "Love Will", a theme that gets reaffirmed on "Butterfly", and the need to get your priorities in line, "Revolutionize your Soul". While many enjoy the gruff side of Tedeschi’s vocal range, tracks like "People" and "True", which feature her softer side, are a more natural fit and bring out her inner-hippy. But Tedeschi isn’t just another writer with a great voice. She’s also a kicking guitarist who surrounds herself on this release with the likes of Doyle Bramhall, II, who helps her move the disc into high gear on "Talking About", a soulful horn section and her husband who adds his steamy slide guitar to several tracks. With plenty of blues for the faithful, there’s also a few change ups including a soul infused take on Allen Toussaint’s, "There’s a Break in the Road", the jazzy Learning the "Hard Way", co-written with the Jayhawk’s Gary Louris, and the title cut which reverberates with funky atmosphere befitting co-author Tony Joe White. This disc is sure to please Tedeschi’s fans and may even add a few new ones. SMITTY

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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