By: Barry Courter Associate Features Editor
For: The Times Free Press
As far as gigs go, Derek Trucks has a good one working tonight. The 26-year-old guitarist will perform with his band, The Derek Trucks Band, on the Covista Stage at Riverbend tonight at 7:45 and then will make the short trek over to the main Coca-Cola Stage where he’ll play with his other group, The Allman Brothers Band.
In a telephone interview earlier this month, he said he was in London getting ready to go onstage with still another employer, Eric Clapton.
“It’s been a pretty solid year,” he said. “You don’t get opportunities like this that often.”
Mr. Trucks has been playing professionally since he was 11 years old. He was asked to play slide guitar with the Allman Brothers in 1999 and was asked by Mr. Clapton to play on his latest CD, “Back Home,” and tour last year.
It marks the second time Mr. Clapton has “borrowed” an Allman Brothers’ guitarist. The late Duane Allman made significant contributions to Mr. Clapton’s 1970’s classic “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs,” including the signature lick on the title track.
For his part, Mr. Trucks has played a big part in the resurgence of the Allman Brothers. Frontman Gregg Allman has said, “The Allman Brothers Band today sounds as good as the band sounded when my brother (Duane) was alive.”
Mr. Trucks, who is joined on guitar in the band by another newcomer, Warren Haynes, said he is proud to be part of the “new version” of the classic group.
“It’s a completely different trip, but in a lot of ways, it’s the same,” he said.
“Any time a band like the Allman Brothers makes changes, I see it more like a Count Basie Orchestra or Duke Ellington — where it lasts 30 or 40 years with people coming and going but the overall songbook and attitude remains. It has to be at a certain level and mindset.”
Mr. Trucks is joined in the Allman Brothers band by his uncle and original member Butch Trucks, who calls his nephew “a raving little genius” and credits him with pushing the band and “raising the bar.”
Mr. Trucks said: “It’s great to see it moving forward.” However, he said doesn’t think the band can ever equal what it was with Duane Allman.
“Any of the time that Duane was there was revolutionary,” he said. “That’s not gonna happen.”
Mr. Trucks credits three records with getting him into music. They are The Allman Brothers’ “Eat A Peach” and “Live At Fillmore East,” and Clapton’s “Layla.” (“Eat A Peach” and “The Final Fillmore East Concert” were released this week as a two-CD deluxe edition set.) “I understand that their music is their legacy,” Mr. Trucks said. “If anything, I will be a footnote. With my group, I have the opportunity to break new ground and open things up and maybe do that type of thing the Allman Brothers did early on.”
E-mail Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org