There’s a storm brewing around Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. To be fair, as one of the most reliably fiery live acts currently on the concert circuit, the 12-piece band that bears both of their names is no stranger to whipping up a fury onstage. But on this day, there’s a distinctly more literal force of nature at hand, as Idalia is raging just outside the married couple’s Jacksonville, Fla., home. Even so, they don’t seem too perturbed.
“I’m making breakfast, and we’ve got a hurricane going on here,” says singer, guitarist, and Norwell native Tedeschi nonchalantly over Zoom.
“So far, so good,” says guitarist and Allman Brothers alum Trucks with the same easy-going demeanor. “Just some tree limbs down and power on and off.” When he’s reminded that he’s giving an interview in the middle of a natural disaster, he genially replies, “That’s right. First things first.”
It’s that focus and determination, their ability to be the calm, steady center at the heart of an engine of tremendous power, that have helped fuel the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s uncommonly rich and varied cocktail of blues, soul, and jam-bandery. It’s also pushed the band to ever-more ambitious projects like last year’s “I Am the Moon,” based on 12th-century Arabian romantic poetry and released episodically over four records and four short films.
To that end, after years of multi-night stands at the Orpheum in Boston and New York’s Beacon Theatre, the Tedeschi Trucks Band is making the leap to the next stage courtesy of the “Garden Parties,” harnessing the energy they put into those shows into single-night performances at TD Garden (Sept. 27) and Madison Square Garden (Sept. 29).
“We do a lot of rehearsal and planning for those multi-night runs, and we’re going to try to do that for one show and see what happens,” says Trucks. “We’ll probably dig a little deeper into the repertoire, and we’re planning on having a few guests show up, just people we’ve known and loved playing with over the years.
“It’s kind of a check-in for the band and kind of a celebration,” he adds. “We’ve gone from club to larger club to small theater to bigger theater, and we played a lot of the places in between, and I find that almost every time you make a step in any direction, it changes the way you play and it changes the way you think a little bit musically.”
One thing that hopefully won’t change is the delicate balance that marks the Tedeschi Trucks Band as far more than just the two names above the title — one a singer of extraordinary power and nuance, the other a guitarist of flabbergasting skill and impeccable taste — and their equally exemplary and empathetic backing musicians. Trucks credits that, ironically enough, to everyone knowing when not to play.
“Everyone realizes that you don’t have to be making noise at all times. Sometimes the best contribution is just zipping it,” he says with a laugh. “A 12-piece band can be a duo or trio or quartet or quintet, and we should utilize that. So pieces come and go, and inside of an arrangement of a song, there’s times where it’s just down to Susan, bass, and drums, or whatever it is. You use that like you would in an orchestra.”
If Tedeschi and Trucks are intimidated by headlining bigger stages, they don’t let it show. Which is fitting, given the nerves it takes to stand next to one of the world’s greatest guitarists and solo yourself. But Tedeschi — herself a fierce blues player by any standard — offers a simple explanation for what gives her that courage: “Being from Boston.”
Trucks laughs. “She’s fearless.”
“Honestly, it is scary, getting up there and playing next to Derek, but I know that I can’t be him,” Tedeschi continues. “It doesn’t have to be him. We all have different things we can offer. He can do things I can’t do and I can do things he can’t do.”
“For sure,” says Trucks. “No one wants to hear me sing.”
“Maybe not,” Tedeschi says. “He might not wanna do what I do. But honestly, he’s made me a better musician, being in a band with him the last 13 years. People always are saying lately, ‘Oh, wow, your guitar playing had really gotten good.’ I’m like, ‘Well, I play with Derek Trucks, I better get better.’ I would hope so. I think this whole band pushes all of us to be better.”
As the Zoom call continues, Trucks notes the activity just outside their home: “The wind’s gusting again.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty nuts out here,” says Tedeschi. “There’s some trees cracking and falling. I would not walk out there right now.”
“It’s pretty intense,” Trucks says.
“There is 60 mile-an-hour gusts, for sure,” Tedeschi says.
Says Trucks once more, “So far, so good.”
TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND
With Lukas Nelson + POTR. At TD Garden. Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets from $35. tedeschitrucksband.com/tour
Marc Hirsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @spacecitymarc.