Derek Trucks is the guitar hero of the new millennium. Eschewing the flash and the histrionics of show business as well as the prototypical posturing of the role as it has (d)evolved over the course of two decades, the precocious Zen master of the fretboard follows an inner direction while he plays that might well be the map of the course he's taken for his career.
Likewise, mirroring his dual skill in playing with and without a slide on his guitar, Derek Trucks' various projects are a multi-faceted reflection of his eclectic musical tastes: unpredictable to be sure, but containing an unerring instinct for precision and passion. Within the music of his own band, blues, soul, R&B, jazz and Indian music flow in and out of each other in such seamless patterns, it's clear the man's knowledge of the genres is as deep and literate as his conversations.
Derek Trucks is never showy or pretentious in any context. The lynchpin of The Allman Brothers Band since 1999, Derek Trucks has charted an increasingly varied course between those annual stints and the seemingly never-ending navigation of Derek Trucks Band in and out of the recording studio and on concert stages around the world. In 2006-07 he completed a productive stint as a member of Eric Clapton's band, during which time his collaboration with spouse Susan Tedeschi, which they dubbed The Soul Stew Revival, coalesced into a viable recurring exercise in roots music.
The new year 2009 immediately bore fruit for Derek. While his latest recording, Already Free, marked his debut as producer of sessions untaken in his own Florida home studio, its release was immediately followed, and perhaps overshadowed, by his appearance with Tedeschi and band, at one of the musical celebrations of the Obama inauguration.
Like his playing, Derek Trucks' life seems on a never-ending progression of intensity and adventure, begging the question: "How does he sound so calm?"

Thanks for taking the time speaking with me. I can only imagine how busy you are.
It's been chaos, but good chaos.
I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and he said you must be the busiest man on the planet this side of the President.
[laughs] Right, right. At least my decisions aren't affecting many lives though.
Well, in a good sense, your playing has changed the lives of the people that love the music that you make -- including me. Speaking of the President, how did it come about that you got to play during inaugural week?
The Allman Brothers played a show for Obama in October, with The Dead, at State College. So through doing that show for Obama, I met and became pretty good friends with one of Obama's advisors. We kept in contact with each other, and when it came time for planning the inauguration they were throwing around ideas and asked if we'd be interested in playing. I told them that I'd love to. He also hooked up my family when Barack was in Jacksonville the day before the election, so my kids, my mom and brothers got some face time with him. They were pumped about that.
The inauguration was wild, too. We had good seats at the swearing in and the energy in that audience was pretty unbelievable. A lot of people! [laughs]
Yeah, and a lot of people with the same thought, and most of it was positive.
Yeah, anytime you have that many people together there's bound to be tension. And I was struck by how many people were going through… you know, little bullshit scuffles and it would dawn on them, "Not today. I'm not going to let it bother me today." You would see a lot of things that might have erupted into a problem were just let go. Even if it's just for only one day, I'll take it.
If we can take it for an omen for the future, even better.
I hope so.
You just got back from a cruise [Blues Cruise]. Did you get to treat that as a vacation too?
It was an excuse to spend a week with my wife and keep the band working [laughs], and to get away from cell phones. It was still semi-busy, but we take what we can get.