Born to Play 

The road goes on forever for Allman offshoot, Derek Trucks.

"[Fatherhood's] a complete trip," Trucks notes with a good-natured laugh. "It makes being on the road more difficult … It can get pretty trying."

But Trucks knows that in his line of work the road goes on forever. His band keeps a hectic schedule, and Derek is also a member of the Allman Brothers band with his uncle, drummer Butch Trucks. But despite the workload, the younger Trucks sounds upbeat and happy during a telephone call from Rochester, N.Y. He is pleased with the "Joyful Noise" CD, which is a sterling mix of styles and his first new batch of songs in more than three years. Trucks plays with great tone throughout as the band moves from Latin beats to the Indian and Pakistani classical music called Qawwali. The artistry found in the religious overtones of Qawwali particularly intrigues Trucks.

"The intensity there … there's so much discipline. It's nice to see people playing. … for the right reasons. Almost all music here has gone to a really bad place — people selling their souls. [Qawwali performers] are laying it on the line. … It's about the music. It's like gospel music over here. I love seeing music taken to its extreme like that."

Trucks found his deep connection to music early. He bought his first guitar at 9 and learned quickly, even performing that same year. Accompanied by his Dad, Trucks and a band were soon on the road. But it was not until a few years later that he understood where he was going.

"It just kind of took over. At 13 or 14, it hit me. It was time to dig in. Then you realize it's a lifelong trip. It helps give focus and direction at an early age." Trucks pauses. With a smile in his voice he adds, "It helps work out the bugs at an early age."

Trucks counts the Allmans' "Eat a Peach" and "At the Fillmore East" as obvious early influences. But he also found refuge in the jazz of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter before finding Qawwali "five or six years ago." Each band member also has classical, jazz or blues roots so the Derek Trucks Band pulls from a wide range of influences. Richmond gets its shot to hear the group Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the Canal Club before the group heads back out on the road to stay until near year's end. In early 2003, Derek and his mates return to the studio to follow up "Joyful Noise."

"Got to keep the ball rolling," he says. "We play so much we want to keep the material fresh."

But where is this evolving and multidimensional band headed?

"Man, we'll see I guess," Trucks concludes, before ending on a serious note about his personal take on music.

"I've seen a lot of friends go down. If music … is why you were put on earth, then anything that interferes with that is sacrilegious." S

The Derek Trucks Band plays Wed., Nov. 27, at the Canal Club near the intersection of Dock and 17th streets in Shockhoe Bottom. Tickets are $14 in advance and $16 day of show. Java Aquarium opens at 8:30 p.m.


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