Few guitarists, especially anyone younger than 30, would eschew summer tours and studio time with the Allman Brothers or Eric Clapton in favor of hanging out with his wife and kids.
Yet that's exactly what Derek Trucks is doing, for the second consecutive summer, by touring with the aptly named Soul Stew Revival. The musical roadshow is a joint venture with his wife, blues guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi, which also doubles as a family roadtrip.
"It's kind of like a summer vacation with the kids, with just a few gigs thrown in along the way," Trucks said during a phone interview before their first show of the summer, in Pennsylvania.
While he is going out with the Allman Brothers with whom he has played since his tweener years for a short tour in the fall, Trucks has used his stature as a blues guitarist and touring veteran to become the anti-rockstar. Instead of groupies and drug binges, he uses his free time driving his kids to school and hanging out with his buddies, who also double as his band.
Now, the money he has earned from major tours has been invested in a recording studio, which he and Tedeschi built in the backyard of their Florida home. Which means more time at home for both of them, and more time to really focus on their music and family, without neglecting either.
As proof, when asked whom he would like to play with that he hasn't yet joined on stage or in a studio, he looks homeward.
"Now that we have this studio, I'm content to just be with our small group and recording," Trucks said, noting that the small group is his band and family. "It's a great mix of the non-reality, which is the recording, and the reality of kids and home."
As for Soul Stew, which stops at Red Butte Garden Tuesday, he said that the energy they developed last year provides a base for something he hopes will become an annual event. Even with some initial rough patches, the shows became both critical and fan favorites including the show at Red Butte Garden last year, which rivaled Son Volt as the best show of last year's series.
"We started last year thinking it would be one thing," he said. "But it became something else entirely ... it was a collision of two bands (members of Trucks and Tedeschi's respective bands), so we had to find a good working relationship."
After some early changes, especially an effort to involve Tedeschi's stellar vocals and underrated guitar playing, things gelled. Now, "there's something about the lineup that really works well," he said.This year's show will be different, both in the selected songs and the addition of a horn section. About the only disappointment may be that the added songs will be more traditional blues and funk numbers, and likely not songs from either Tedeschi's new album (expected this fall) or Trucks' new album, which is slated for early 2009.
If you go ...
What: Soul Stew Revival, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Scrapomatic
Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheater
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
How much: $40