MP3: "Lullaby," from Grey's forthcoming Georgia Warhorse
Release Date: Tuesday, August 24
Rating (skip, stream, buy): Stream
"Lullaby," the closing track from Georgia Warhorse, the new album from neu-funk/lite soul's JJ Grey, is the kind of intentionally blurry canvas that is ripe for a few Derek Trucks strokes. The ethereal slide guitarist's haunting, distant wails add a dark layer to what is already an unsettling hymn. Trucks can't help but steal the show, not by over-playing, just by plugging in his guitar and singing through his strings in a manner in which he is peerless. But his services here, while satisfying for devout Trucks listeners, are rote.
Trucks has spent his career on the jam-loving roots rock circuit, from his steady gig with the Allman Brothers Band and collaborations with his wife, Susan Tedeschi (where the two absolutely bring out the best in each other), Gov't Mule, and Widespread Panic, to his own Grammy-winning ensemble, the Derek Trucks Band. That's a lot of granola. Are the stages at Bonnaroo really that far apart?
With the continued success of roots-centric, jam-sympathetic, psych-loving rock acts on the indie side of the scale--like Black Angels and Black Mountain, just to name a pair -- it's somewhat amazing that Trucks hasn't been enlisted to bring the best of his camp into the best of theirs.
At 31, Trucks--who's as enamored with jazz as he is Eastern sounds--has plenty of time to be poached by a member of another clique for a weekend or two. They'll all be the better for it.