Q&A: Susan Tedeschi on Blues in Boca

Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi (photo by Shervin Lainez)

This Saturday, Tedeschi Trucks Band will return to Boca Raton’s Mizner Park Amphitheaterfor the seventh(!) year in a row. In anticipation of the show, one of the first dates on the group’s Wheels of Soul Tour, Susan Tedeschi spoke to Bocamagazine about the state of the band and its relationship with South Florida. 

Do you feel like the band has a special connection with Boca Raton and Mizner Park Amphitheater after playing here annually for so many years?

Well, the weather’s usually beautiful. It seems like we’ve built up a nice following, and the people are always really supportive. I also have a lot of family down there, so it’s great to see them and they’re usually able to make it out to the show. We won’t be down there for long, but it’s such a beautiful place, I wish we were able to stay longer.

Is it reinvigorating to be touring on your new record? [this year’s Signs]

It’s been great! We’ve mostly toured in Europe and Japan so far, and people have been really supportive. It seems like everyone is enjoying the new songs. We’re really excited to play some shows in the States now.

South Florida isn’t really a hot spot for blues or soul, so you guys are really helping to keep the sound alive down here and give fans of the genre something to look forward to every year. What’s it like to be seen as bastions of the genre?

It doesn’t even cross my mind—we tend to lose touch with what’s happening in the younger scenes because we’re so focused on what we’re doing. There’s something special to this band. It’s not just Derek and I; it’s 12 people. We make blues, soul, gospel and country, so we can relate to a lot of genres. Our music is very wide-reaching. We love what we do, we’re passionate about it, and people can really feel that. It’s music that people need right now. There’s too much division and anger in hip-hop. It’s our duty to help people by lifting their spirits, giving them light, giving them hope, bringing them together.

Courtesy of Tedeschi Trucks’ Instagram page

As for what’s to come, Tedeschi anticipates some much needed rest for the group after the Wheels of Soul Tour wraps up later this year. 

Can we expect to see you return the Sunshine Music Festival in 2020?

I’m not sure. We’re going to take a bunch of time off next year. We’ve been burning at both ends for a while; we’ve been going pretty hard for 10 years now. Our son is a senior now, he’s graduating next year. It’s probably time to slow down for a bit and settle down before he leaves us. And we lost Kofi this year, and haven’t had a lot of time to heal, not a lot of time for reflection. It’s important to take time to heal and be thankful for what we have. 

Throughout our brief chat, Susan Tedeschi was as warm and kind as anyone I’ve spoken to in the music industry. Her love for her craft couldn’t be more evident, and her determination to continue bringing positivity to crowds in spite of the tragedy her band has dealt with this year is inspiring. If this really is the last time that Boca will be host to a Tedeschi Trucks Band show for the foreseeable future, it’s even more reason to attend Saturday’s show and, in Tedeschi’s words, “get together and love each other.”

Tickets for the Wheels of Soul tour, with opening acts Shovels and Rope and Blackberry Smoke, run $59.50-$99.50. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Saturday. Visit mizneramp.com.