Thoughtful, in control, mature. These sentiments are eminent both lyrically and musically on the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s third studio album Let Me Get By, released last month by Fantasy Records. Led since 2010 by the wife and husband duo Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, the 12-piece band sounds even more unified than on 2013’s Made Up Mind, with its big band feel balancing out the solos interspersed throughout the album.
Let Me Get By was created by experienced musicians – this is not an album fueled by the desperate rebellion of teenaged rockers. It certainly doesn’t sound like one. Bluesy tracks (“Anyhow,” “Just As Strange”) feed into rock numbers with hints of soul (“Don’t Know What it Means,” “Crying Over You”) and recurring flute, trombone and saxophone dalliances (performed by band members Kofi Burbridge, Elizabeth Lea and Kebbi Williams, respectively) that fill out the sound. This feels like a band album, where everyone had a voice during the creating and recording processes – and, according to the band’s official website, that’s an accurate description of how Let Me Get By came to be. Though some band members have shuffled in and out of the group during its six-year history, it makes sense that the collective sound would at this point be confident and reflective.
The bandleaders deserve some kudos: in addition to producing the entire album, Trucks’ lead guitar is an omnipresence, keeping ambitious songs like “Don’t Know What it Means” anchored while complementing Tedeschi’s voice in a subtle call and response fashion. Tedeschi, meanwhile – oh, the voice. Her vocals on much of Let Me Get By don’t have the same gritty power that they had when she first started out as a solo artist in the 1990s, but the raw edge is still there, palpable, waiting for the right moments to release (“Anyhow,” “Hear Me” and the title track are stand-outs for Tedeschi, with the bluesy tracks unsurprisingly standing out even amongst those).
From the lyrics on “Laugh About It” (“Rise up, right where they’ve pushed you down / Don’t let nobody ever turn you ‘round”) through the promise of self-discovery and interpersonal connectivity in album closer “In Every Heart,” not to mention the consistent togetherness vibe, Let Me Get By feels like an honest album, representative of the musings and concerns of experienced musicians who get a kick out of the occasional joke (as in “Right On Time”: “Poor old Romeo / Juliet is at his feet / Maybe she’s just asleep”). The album has a little blues, a little soul and a lot of the Tedeschi Trucks Band’s own style of rock. If every group had the opportunity to make a record that represented the band in its most confident, comfortable and sincere state, this would be theirs.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Don’t Know What it Means
– Let Me Get By
– Hear Me
The Big Hit
Review by Meghan Roos
Buy the album: Amazon