Derek Trucks Names Guitarist He Goes Back to for Inspiration: ’All I Have to Do Is Listen to One Solo and It Snaps Me Back’

In a recently published exchange with Guitar World, blues guitar virtuoso Derek Trucks discussed guitar players who made the biggest impact on him. But aside from a list of 11 of these guitarists, Trucks also reflected on the new album with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, titled “I Am the Moon,” and the tour in support of it. He said:

 “We’ve been out for a good part of the year, and it’s been great. We’ve been doing a lot of theater dates and learning the new material, which a lot of people haven’t gotten the chance to hear live yet.

“It’s the first time we’ve gotten to really dig into it, so it’s been nice to chew on it. It feels like a fresh and new environment when there’s new stuff to play, and I love that.”

Tedeschi Trucks Band Live at The Capitol Theatre | 2/20/18 | Relix

Further discussing the matter, Trucks highlighted his love of playing live, also recalling how he simply didn’t like studio work. He explained:

“I love to play live, and we play live more than we do anything else. So, I think that’s probably the base. I think in the studio, maybe I tend to think a little bit differently, but not totally. These days, I feel like we’re pretty comfortable in the studio, so I don’t mind taking chances and putting a little bit of extra feel into something.”

“Early in my career, without a doubt, the studio was a pain in the ass. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I do [now]. But now, I love the time in the studio, the creativity of it, and the birthing of ideas. I feel like it’s as big of a part of things and sort of the last step in the evolution. So, I really do love them both. I wasn’t always that way, but I am now.”

I Am The Moon - 7/29/22 - Morrison, CO

Elsewhere in the chat, Derek was also asked about what would be his favorite solo that he ever wrote and recorded. It wasn’t an easy choice for him but Derek gave an answer:

“Wow. That’s a tough one. But maybe it’s the solo in ‘Midnight in Harlem‘ – it felt effortless when I first played that. Sometimes you get into the stream, and the band goes with you. That’s what happened there. 

“I loved playing ‘Blue Sky‘ when I was with the Allman Brothers Band – it felt that way, too. One of my favorite things of all time is listening to Duane Allman’s solo in that song, and I think that solo was probably the inspiration for ‘Midnight in Harlem.‘ There’s just something timeless and beautiful about it. It’s not in a hurry, but it gets there.”

Tedeschi Trucks Band - "Midnight In Harlem" (Solo)

While talking about guitarists who influenced him the most, Derek also mentioned Eric Clapton and Albert King, with two blues guitar legends sharing the same 10th spot on the list. Trucks said:

“I’ll go with a tie between Clapton and Albert King. With Clapton, from all the music he made, the way he influenced people, and the way that he was able to run his band, all of that was impressive.”

“I ended up learning a lot from the way he was running the show and his economy of emotion when he’s really tagging a solo – it’s incredible to watch.”

Albert King - Blues Power - 9/23/1970 - Fillmore East (Official)

And, as Derek added, Albert King is that one guitar player he comes back to when in need of inspiration. He continued:

“And Albert King, he’s a guy that I go back to if I’m ever out of gas, inspirationally or creatively. All I have to do is listen to one Albert King solo, and that snaps me back.”

Of course, it’s needless to say that the list also included Duane Allman, the legendary slide guitar player of The Allman Brothers Band, a group where Derek pretty much took over his spot many years after his tragic passing in 1971. Derek said of Duane:

“For me, it started with Duane Allman. I mean, that was the music that was playing in my house all the time. And that was what first got me interested in playing guitar. Just the excitement of it all was so alluring to me.

You Don't Love Me (Live At The Fillmore East/1971/First Show/Previously Unreleased)

“Duane was an almost mythical character in my house. My dad grew up around a lot of what came before Duane, but I wasn’t alive to see any of that. So, he was the starting point for me when it comes to guitar.”

In a last year’s interview, Derek Trucks also discussed his slide playing and a very unique sound that he’s recognizable for. Discussing the technique, he said:

“Slide playing is all about intonation, which only comes through time. You can’t skip over those things. When I feel like I’m not where I need to be, I’ll check in with players like Elmore James or Son House to remind myself.“

“Through them, I learned how you attack a note affects whether it sings or not, which can change whether people want to hear it. If you bring them in with a beautiful emotion from the beginning, you can dig in and take it anywhere.“

Derek Trucks Solo - "Gravity" - 7/29/22

He also added:

“You just need to start and end well. You need an entrance and an exit – you’ll be forgiven for a lot of what happens in the middle! You might have this phrase and then need to find ways to get in and out of it.“

“You find different cornerstones in this thing you’re building. You go off and explore, and then come back home occasionally. That’s an Indian classical concept, where somebody improvises and then comes back to the melody with everyone else, before it’s someone else’s turn to run with it.”

Tedeschi Trucks Band: Tiny Desk Concert

When it comes to the tone, Derek gave us a glimpse into his gear collection by saying:

“Some of the biggest sounds actually came from this tiny Tweed Deluxe on three. There was something about the tone that totally barked. When you go back into the control room, quite often it’s those tiny amps that sound biggest. Live is a totally different beast. I have Duane Allman’s 50-watt Marshall [as used on the Allman Brothers Band’s classic 1971 live album ‘At Fillmore East‘], and it sounds incredible.”

“But it’s hard to make it sound the same on the record as it does in the room. It’s almost like the bigger the sound in the room, the smaller it sounds through speakers in the control room. That’s something you are always balancing: how it sounds on the floor and how it sounds later.”

Photos: Lhcollins (Derek Trucks of the Tedeschi Trucks Band performing at the Appel Farm Music Festival in Elmer, NJ in June 2012) Grant Gouldon (Albert King 1968)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.