Susan Tedeschi’s Varied ‘Back to the River’ Set the Stage for Greatness

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With her strong blues foundation and pliable, slightly raspy croon, Susan Tedeschi is always going to be compared to Bonnie Raitt. As Back to the River arrived on Oct. 28, 2008, however, she’d yet to achieve the kind of crossover blockbuster success that accompanied Raitt’s Nick of Time.

It wasn’t for a lack of quality material. With Back to the River, Tedeschi continued to stay true to providing an optimal blend of blues, R&B, gospel and rock. In ever so discreet steps, though, she’d begun showing continued growth in the songwriting department. These tracks were nicely varied, but all had a lot of that old-school soul in them and showcased the many facets of Tedeschi’s voice.

All but one song on Back to the River was an original, and she wrote or co-wrote all of those. Ranging from the rocker “Talking About” to the soulful “People,” they tended to come off as if written years ago. Each sounded so comfortable and familiar alongside classic R&B/rock tunes of the late ’60s and early ’70s including Allen Toussaint’s “Break in the Road,” which Susan Tedeschi tackled here with authority.

One of the co-writes – the title track, in fact – was with north Louisiana legend Tony Joe White. Other notable collaborations and contributions are courtesy of Doyle Bramhall II and naturally, Susan’s husband Derek Trucks.

Bringing in family for help can sometimes be a forced proposition but in this case, one could stand even more Trucks’ signature slide guitar on this record (which he also produced). No matter, though, it was his old lady who made Back To The River another strong undertaking. And by 2010, they had officially joined forces as the Tedeschi Trucks Band.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at [email protected] .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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