The Derek Trucks Band
Trucks may be the finest, most nuanced slide guitarist in the world—a talent with which he shines as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and makes lustrous, stylistically diverse music with his own superior group. Here, the exploratory jams of past outings have receded in favor of the song form (hence the addition of soul singer Mike Mattison), with mixed results. Original tunes veer into smooth-jazz terrain, but reworkings of Roland Kirk’s blues chant “Volunteered Slavery” (backed with slide guitar, bass, electric piano and flute) and the traditional “Crow Jane” (all seventh chords, second-line rhythms and sublime clavinet) are spot-on. And when Trucks takes on Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s joyous “Sahib Teri Bandi/Maki Madni,” it’s as if he’s channeling the late, great Qawwali singer through sheer devotion.