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Around Our Town...Music to My Ears

Susan Tedeshi: Hope and Desire

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02/01/2006 - I don't really want to rule the earth. I would like to have a little influence over its inhabitants, though. If I could have just a little control, I think I would probably force, um...I mean ask everyone to go out and buy Susan Tedeshi's latest offering. You see, if everyone who owns a stereo bought this disc, we could all begin the healing process. What? You didn't know you were hurting? Oh, but you are, my friend. See, we all suffer from a constant aural barrage that is being inflicted on us by the modern day music industry. That's the problem. It's an industry. It's a machine, churning out "artist" after artist and song after song, bereft of any kind of soul. And isn't soul supposed to be what music is all about? Well, it is, buster, and that's why Susan should be counted among every true music fan's favorites. Susan Tedeschi has more soul in her little pinky finger than...other people have in their pinky fingers.

Susan has been around for the better part of the past decade, playing a scorching blues guitar and belting out soul-drenched blasts of rhythmn and blues for her dozens of fans. I'm only half kidding about the dozens thing. Therein lies the rub. There are quite a few incredibly talented musicians out there who aren't getting heard, which borders on criminal, in my estimation. Susan heads the list.

"Hope and Desire" is a bit of a departure for Tedeschi. She is a top notch songwriter, but she chose to stretch herself a little on this latest work, and she takes a shot at a bunch of songs written by other folks. The writing credits on this one read like a who's who of the best that popular music has had to offer over the last forty years. How about Bob Dylan, Jagger and Richards, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, and Percy Mayfield, to name a few. Wow. Now, it's a bit risky to take a boat load of great songs and try to put your artistic stamp on them. But not for Susan Tedeschi.

In addition to her overwhelming talent, "Hope and Desire" displays some exquisitely tasty guitar playing from her husband, Derek Trucks (Derek Trucks Band, Allman Brothers, etc.) and the legendary Doyle Bramhall II. The rest of the musicians are solid, playing their parts perfectly. The disc sounds like a vintage early '70's rhythmn and blues/rock and roll/delta blues/gospel hybrid. No kidding, I can't believe it was recorded in 2005. It sounds incredibly retro, which equates to cool in my warped world.

Uh, oh. I used the word cool. That means that I should take the time to explain all about how the concept of cool is relative. Except of course, where I'm concerned. When I refer to something as cool, I am speaking imperically. Geez, Maybe I do want to rule the earth. Hmm.

Anyway, all foolishness aside, I honestly believe you'd do very well to pick up a copy of "Hope and Desire." This loose collection of bluesy ballads, sassy rockers, Motown feel-good tunes, and gospel reflections is tightly glued together by Susan's incredible voice and the perfect musicianship on display here. If you get it, put it on in the car and crank it. No, that's not Bonnie Raitt you're hearing on the first track, but you'll want to swear it is. Tell you what. Put it on in the car, make sure your windows are rolled up (I guess they would be this time of year, unless you're insane), and skip to track number six. It's called "Evidence." Turn the volume way, way up, then just let it happen. If that doesn't move you, you are part Vulcan and your name is Spock.

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