Tedeschi Trucks Band, "Let Me Get By" (Fantasy/Concord)
It's barely 2016, but the Tedeschi Trucks Band has already released one of the great records of the year.
Expanded to an even dozen — in addition to Doyle Bramhall II guesting on and co-writing several songs — the band led by the husband-and-wife team of singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi and guitar hero Derek Trucks masters a wide range of styles and sounds on "Let Me Get By," from Memphis soul to R&B to blues and funk.
For years one of the premier American live acts, TTB's third studio album reflects the hundreds of days on the road. Not the endless bus rides or the monotonous hotel rooms but the ease with which the 12 musicians gel and the energy and depth they bring.
Recorded in spurts at Swamp Raga, the Tedeschi-Trucks home studio, the songs grew out of collective jams and tour rehearsals. Produced by Trucks, the album achieves a wonderful sonic balance and each tune offers multiple layers to discover.
There's excellent musicianship throughout but Tedeschi's steaming, yet never overwhelming vocals, bassist Tim Lefebvre and Kofi Burbridge's keyboard arsenal deserve special mention.
Check out echoes of the Allman Brothers on opening cut "Anyhow" or the Al Green-meets-Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan combination of "Crying Over You/Swamp Raga," which fuses a soulful melody drenched with strings and horns with a Qawwali-like coda.
If you can't catch TTB live on the road, "Let Me Get By" provides no small comfort.