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On the road again 

Susan Tedeschi out to showcase new music, band

It can't be easy to be the wife of a famous musician. Add to that two kids and a music career of your own and the demands have to add up. Call it cabin fever, but Susan Tedeschi is bursting at the seams.

Her last album, the Grammy-nominated Hope and Desire, was released nearly two-and-a-half years ago. To say her creative juices have been flowing may be an understatement. She's put together a new band, built a recording studio in the backyard of her house and has written more than enough songs for a new album. If only she could find the right producer ...

"We've been waiting to record for about five or six months now," Tedeschi says from her Florida home. "It's been a matter of the record company and me working together to get the material they want me to do and getting the right producer. It's a lot more complicated than it needs to be."

It's a standstill until the label approves her next move. While she waits for those details to get ironed out, she's been recording some demos thanks to husband Derek Trucks and practicing with a new lineup -- former Codetalkers Tyler Greenwell and Ted Pecchio and The Peacemakers' Matt Slocum.

"It's an all-new band," Tedeschi says. "I needed a change. My keyboard player had basically left, which I think was a blessing in disguise. As busy as I am, I don't like change because that means more work for me. It was just a matter of time and now it feels like such a much better band. It has a better energy. I have this new band and I'm dying to get out there and work and make some money. It's one thing to make a record and it's another thing to sit at home and go broke."

She's been using the last few months to get back into a comfort zone with playing, in addition to remembering all of her songs. Tedeschi says she's been so focused on writing new songs that she's had to set aside time to relearn all the old ones.

She expects that, when she finally gets to record it, the new record will be a bit funkier than Hope and Desire. While that record was also strictly covers, she plans on the next one to be most, if not all, originals. She has plans for a bit of everything -- soul, rock, ballads. She plans on breaking out some of the new material at her upcoming shows.

"I wrote 19 new songs," Tedeschi says with excitement. "There's a lot of great stuff. I'm ready to get on it and make a killer record and tour it. That's where my head is. I don't want to rush it though, either. I want to make it great."

Most of the songs have been written since the last album, while some were written before. She says no matter whether she's singing cover songs or originals, her goal is always to make the best album she can, adding that having only covers on Hope and Desire was the right thing to do at the time based on what the label wanted.

"They wanted to show off my singing," she says. "It was a great record and a lot of fun, but I came back and said I want to make a record that's all my own stuff and play guitar on everything so that people can see both sides. It doesn't have to be any one way as long as it's coherent and beautiful and works together. That's the main thing."

Tedeschi says her guitar style is influenced by a lot of the musicians she listened to at a young age -- Freddy King, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, B.B. King and Albert King -- who believed you should be able to sing everything you play.

There's no doubt that her husband must be a regular influence on her playing these days, as well. Tedeschi says that Trucks has helped her to determine her strengths and weaknesses as a player. The duo performs from time to time as the Soul Stew Review and Tedeschi notes that the two hope to record an album together at some point.

"We've definitely thought about doing that," she says. "We've been writing a lot at home. Recently, he wrote this beautiful song and Warren Haynes came down and wrote lyrics to it and I sang it -- those kinds of collaborations. Doyle Bramhall came down and wrote with Derek and I can sing that stuff. We've already done 16 new tracks between the two of us that aren't even related to new records."

Tedeschi says it's been frustrating to stay at home at times, but is completely understanding of her husband's talent and work schedule. Trucks tours with his own band in addition to The Allman Brothers Band and a long stint on Eric Clapton's last tour. While she admits she'd love to be the one on stage with Clapton, you can hear love and admiration when she speaks about her husband.

"This is his calling," she says. "He's supposed to be out there. One of us has to be more stay-at-home. I have a house to take care of, kids to take care of, a husband to take care of and then my career. Sometimes it's hard. He's doing the right thing and doing what he's gotta be doing. If it's gonna be my turn, it'll be when it's meant to be."

Susan Tedeschi will perform at the Neighborhood Theatre with The Lee Boys on April 18. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $26.

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