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Susan Tedeschi Profile

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Blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi

Blues guitarist Susan Tedeschi

Photo courtesy Verve Forecast Records

Born: November 9, 1970 in Boston MA

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Susan Tedeschi is part of a youth movement in the blues that is breathing new life and fire into the aging genre. A naturally-skilled guitarist with a soulful voice in the vein of Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, Tedeschi's moderate success is built entirely on hard work and talent, and her dynamic live performances and constant touring has helped bring the blues to an entirely new generation of fans. Like many of her peers, Tedeschi mixes a traditional modern blues sound with soul, R&B, and gospel in a manner that both rocks and rolls.

Influenced By The Church

Born in Boston, Massachusetts and raised in nearby Norwell, Susan Tedeschi began her career in music at the age of six years old, performing as an understudy in a Broadway musical. She would sing with the church choir, and at home she'd sing along with records from her father's record collection, including Mississippi John Hurt and Lightnin' Hopkins. As Tedeschi got older, she began attending a primarily African-American Baptist church because of the energy and life she found in the choir's music.

Tedeschi formed her first band, the Smokin' Section, at the age of 18, and went to college at the Berklee College of Music, receiving a degree in music composition and performance within two years. During this period she also sang with a gospel choir. While in college, Tedeschi began immersing herself in the thriving late-1980s Boston music scene, sitting in with local blues artists and teaching herself to play guitar, an instrument that she quickly mastered.

The Susan Tedeschi Band

Tedeschi formed the Susan Tedeschi Band in 1994 with vocalist and guitarist Adrienne Hayes. They released their Better Days album regionally in 1995. Hayes left the band shortly thereafter, replaced by young guitar prodigy Sean Costello, and Aiello would be replaced by Tom Hambridge. It was this line-up that recorded the sessions released as Just Won't Burn in 1998. Showcasing two bright young talents in Tedeschi and Costello, favorable word-of-mouth and live performances pushed the album to sales of over 500,000 copies, earning a Gold Record and a Grammy nomination as "Best New Artist."

Cresting on the wave of the moderate success of Just Won't Burn, 1999 proved to be a breakthrough year for Tedeschi. She toured extensively, opening for artists like Buddy Guy, the Allman Brothers Band, and B.B. King, as well as touring with the summer Lilith Fair festival. Tedeschi's efforts would win her two W.C. Handy Awards for "Best New Blues Artist" and Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year," an award she also won in 2000. It would take three years for Tedeschi to follow up her debut with 2002's Wait For Me.

Soul Stew Revival

Tedeschi would marry fellow blues guitarist Derek Trucks in 2001, the two meeting in New Orleans when Tedeschi's band opened for the Allman Brothers Band's 1999 tour. The couple would subsequently have two children: Charles Khalil Trucks, named for saxophonist Charlie Parker, guitarist Charlie Christian, and author Khalil Gibran. Sophia Naima Trucks, born in 2004, got her unusual middle name from the John Coltrane ballad, which was also the jazz legend's first wife's name.

Both artists tour constantly with their respective bands, but find time to perform together whenever possible. Merging their two bands together as a blues-and-roots-music "supergroup" they call Soul Stew Revival, the eleven-piece ensemble has toured the country, and appeared at the 2008 Bonnaroo Festival in Manchester, Tennessee.

Hope and Desire

Tedeschi released the critically-acclaimed Hope and Desire in 2005, the album scraping its way into the upper reaches of the Billboard magazine Top 200 chart, a region seldom inhabited by a blues artist, earning the guitarist her third Grammy nomination. After touring constantly for a couple of years, Tedeschi and her band returned to the studio and emerged with 2008's Back to the River album, which would peak at #71 on the Top 200 chart and be nominated as "Best Contemporary Blues Album" in the 2010 Grammys, Tedeschi vying with her husband for the coveted award.

Recommended Albums: Tedeschi's debut, Just Won't Burn, is a rock-solid collection of original songs with a couple of covers, including a soulful take on John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery." Back to the River showcases Tedeschi's talents as both a vocalist and a fully-matured songwriter, two traits often overlooked in the shadow of her impressive six-string skills.

Susan Tedeschi Discography
(Click on album titles to compare prices on PriceGrabber)

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