Derek Trucks Band: Already FreeMusic Reviews Derek Trucks Band
Trucks sacrifices thrill for freedom
The title Already Free seems like a line drawn in the sand for Derek Trucks, as opposed to his previous, more docile Songlines. With it, Trucks asserts that he’s finally come into his own, out from beneath the specter of the Allman brothers: no longer a hired gun, more than just the summation of his skill sliding down a fretboard, a name to be known.
While the instrumentation is skillful as ever, this effort musters less grit than Songlines. Gone are the gentle two-minute guitar intros, as are the nine-minute instrumental tracks that, in less capable hands, would quickly lapse into tedium.
This is the first album produced by Trucks and is often too safe, at times with a mechanical execution and over-reliance on vocals, each likely bids for more mainstream attention. The Bob Dylan-borrowed “Down in the Flood” stands out with an acoustic opening that canters into a full band jam, and “Down Don’t Bother Me” is the rare occasion on the album where vocals complement a bluesy guitar cadence. Derek Trucks and his gang may be free, and they’re still one of the best touring bands around, but this album doesn’t show Trucks standing on his own just yet.