Derek Trucks (born June 8, 1979) is an American guitarist, songwriter, and founder of the Grammy Award-winningThe Derek Trucks Band. He became an official member of The Allman Brothers Band in 1999. In 2010 he formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife, blues singer Susan Tedeschi. His musical style encompasses several genres and he has twice appeared on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He is the nephew of Butch Trucks, drummer for the Allman Brothers.
Trucks was born in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Trucks, the name of Eric Clapton's band, Derek and the Dominos, had "something to do with the name [Derek] if not the spelling".
Trucks bought his first guitar at a yard sale for $5 at age nine and became a child prodigy, who played his first paid performance at age 11. Trucks began playing the guitar using a slide because it allowed him to play the guitar despite his small, young hands. By his 13th birthday, Trucks had played alongside Buddy Guy and toured with Thunderhawk.
Trucks formed The Derek Trucks Band in 1994, and by his 20th birthday, he had played with such artists as Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh, and Stephen Stills. After performing with The Allman Brothers Band for several years as a guest musician, Trucks became a formal member of the band in 1999 and appeared on the albums Peakin' at the Beacon, Live at the Beacon Theatre, Hittin' the Note and One Way Out. In 2006 Trucks began a studio collaboration with Eric Clapton called The Road to Escondido and performed with three bands in 17 different countries that year. Trucks was invited to perform at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival, and after the festival, he toured as part of Clapton's band.
Trucks built a studio in his home in January 2008, and his band and he recorded the album Already Free. Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi, combined their bands to form the Soul Stew Revival in 2007 and performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in June 2008. In late 2009, Trucks and his band went on hiatus, after which the band dissolved. In 2010, Trucks formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife. On January 8, 2014, Trucks announced that he and fellow guitarist Warren Haynes planned to leave the Allman Brothers Band at the end of 2014. That band announced its retirement, with Trucks playing as a member through their final show on October 28, 2014, at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
Trucks credits guitarist Duane Allman and bluesman Elmore James as the two slide guitarists who influenced his early style, but has since been inspired by John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wayne Shorter, Toy Caldwell, Freddie King and B.B. King.
His music is said to encompass categories such as jam band, Southern rock, and jazz while simultaneously being rooted in the blues and rock genres. Trucks plays an eclectic blend of blues, soul, jazz, rock, qawwali music (a genre of music from Pakistan and eastern India), Latin music, and other kinds of world music Trucks became a fan of Hindustani classical musician Ali Akbar Khan, known for his virtuosity in playing the sarod and popularising Indian classical music in the West, often in conjunction with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar. Trucks studied at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California.
Trucks often plays the guitar in an open E tuning, using a Dunlop Blues Bottle slide. In 2006, two vintage (1965 and 1968) Fender Super Reverb amplifiers, a Hammond B-3 organ, two Leslie speaker cabinets, and a Hohner E-7 clavinet were stolen from Trucks and later recovered by the Atlanta police department.
Trucks has appeared twice in Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". He was listed as 81st in 2003 and 16th in 2011. An article in The Wall Street Journal described him as "the most awe-inspiring electric slide guitar player performing today". In 2007, Trucks appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone for an article called the "New Guitar Gods". Trucks is reported to be a creative guitarist and according to his uncle, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, "He never does the same thing twice". An article in The Washington Post described Trucks' guitar style as "notes and chords that soar, slice, and glide, sounding like a cross between Duane Allman on a '61 Gibson Les Paul and John Coltrane on tenor sax". The Derek Trucks Band's album Already Free debuted at number 19 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, and number one on the Internet chart, number four on the rock chart, and number one on the blues chart.
In 2010, The Derek Trucks Band won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for the album Already Free. In 2012, Trucks and Tedeschi as the Tedeschi Trucks Band won the Grammy Award for Best Blues Album for the band's debut album Revelator. On February 12, 2012, Trucks accepted a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award along with 10 other members of The Allman Brothers Band. On February 21, 2012, Derek Trucks and his wife joined other blues musicians for a performance at the White House for President Obama and his guests.
In September 2012, John Mayer and Derek Trucks joined B.B. King on stage at the Hollywood Bowl for an encore version of B.B.'s famous song "Guess Who". Concluding the performance, B.B. King made several remarks about Trucks's guitar playing, ending with, "That is as good as I've ever heard it".
Trucks' uncle, Butch Trucks, was a founding member and drummer of The Allman Brothers Band. His younger brother is Duane Trucks, who is a member of Widespread Panic and Hard Working Americans. His great-uncle, Virgil Trucks, was a major league baseball pitcher in the 1940s and 1950s, winning 177 games in his career. In 2001, Trucks married singer and musician Susan Tedeschi, and they had a son in March 2002 and a daughter in 2004.
Trucks is an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves, the Florida State Seminoles, and his hometown Jacksonville Jaguars.
With the Derek Trucks Band
- The Derek Trucks Band (1997)
- Out of the Madness (1998)
- Joyful Noise (2002)
- Soul Serenade (2003)
- Live at Georgia Theatre (2004)
- Songlines (2006) (Legacy Recordings)
- Songlines Live (DVD) (2006) (Legacy Recordings)
- Live at Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival (2007)
- Already Free (2009) (Legacy Recordings)
- Roadsongs (2010)
With the Allman Brothers Band
- Peakin' at the Beacon (2000)
- Hittin' the Note (2003)
- One Way Out (2004)
With The Tedeschi Trucks Band
- Revelator (2011)
- Everybody's Talkin' (2012)
- Made Up Mind (2013)
- Let Me Get By (2016)
- 1994: Storm Warning, Tinsley Ellis
- 1996: To Cry You a Song: A Tull Tale, various artists/Cat's Squirrel (with Charlie Musselwhite, Clive Bunker, Mick Abrahams)
- 1996: The Circle, Planet Earth/Carey Nall
- 1996: Come on in This House, Junior Wells
- 1997: Searching for Simplicity, Gregg Allman
- 1999: Live... With a Little Help from Our Friends, Gov't Mule
- 2000: Croakin' at Toad's, Frogwings
- 2001: Project Z, Project Z
- 2002: Live in the Classic City, Widespread Panic
- 2002: Wait For Me, Susan Tedeschi
- 2003: Little Worlds, Béla Fleck and the Flecktones
- 2005: The Best Kept Secret, Jerry Douglas
- 2005: Hope and Desire, Susan Tedeschi
- 2006: The Road to Escondido, JJ Cale, Eric Clapton Reprise
- 2008: Skin Deep, Buddy Guy
- 2008: Here and Gone, David Sanborn
- 2008: Sidewalk Caesars, Scrapomatic
- 2008: The Blues Roll On, Elvin Bishop
- 2008: Back to the River, Susan Tedeschi
- 2008: Lifeboat, Jimmy Herring
- 2008: Guitars, McCoy Tyner
- 2010: The Imagine Project, Herbie Hancock
- 2010: Clapton, Eric Clapton
- 2014: The Breeze: An Appreciation of JJ Cale, Eric Clapton
- 2016: Blood From a Stone, Eric Krasno