I Am the Moon: III. The Fall

Tedeschi Trucks Band

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I Am the Moon: III. The Fall Review

by Thom Jurek

I Am the Moon: III. The Fall is the third in a projected series of four conceptually related, bi-monthly releases by Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2022. Each is accompanied by its own film from director Alix Lambert. It was informed by the epic, 12th century Persian love poem "The Story of Layla and Majnun" by Nizami Ganjavi, which also provided inspiration for the music on Derek and the Dominos' 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. Discovering complex themes and storylines in the poem, I Am the Moon was written collaboratively, with band members contributing their own unique perspectives on the work.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band sets its gaze on love's bittersweet dimensions on this third installment. Opener "Somehow" by Gabe Dixon and Tia Sellers is a wrangling blues-rocker driven by Trucks' signature slide guitar. Hammond B-3, Rhodes piano, horns, drums, and a backing chorus surround Susan Tedeschi's aching vocal -- "How many times will you walk away?/How many times is the price I pay too high?/How many times can you make me beg?/Look that way and wreck my head..." -- as the rootsy, blues-jazz mix underscores the emotional grain in her voice. No matter the cost, she affirms a commitment to follow it and the beloved wherever they go: "What strikes a match in a stranger's eye so bright?/Makes us want and makes us seek/The flicker of somebody’s heat?/How can what should be wrong on paper/Be written in the heart so right?" "None Above," written by Tedeschi and Mike Mattison, is a brief, souled-out choogler that weighs the tensions between obsessive commitment and the potential for destruction it poses, all inside a pop melody worthy of vintage AM radio. "Yes We Will" is funky, greasy, and drenched in gospel dynamics. It swaggers and sways as its lyrics detail the trials and tribulations emerging in this world and the one to come. Tedeschi's and Trucks' guitar breaks are mean, lean, argumentative, and edgy atop a soul shuffle on the drum kit, doo wop backing chorus, and Dixon's chugging keys. "Gravity" was composed by Dixon and Oliver Wood. Saturated in funky, NOLA rhythm and blues, it owes a debt to Dixie Chicken-era Little Feat, with killer piano and lead vocals from Dixon amid strutting horns and biting slide guitar. Mattison's "Emmaline" is a midtempo romantic ballad offered an absent lover under the night sky in country-waltz time. Alecia Chakour's stunning backing vocals add depth and resonance. Closer "Take Me As I Am" is a love anthem sung by Tedeschi and Mark Rivers. Framed by sweet horns, a swaying backing chorus, and breakbeat drums, guitars, organ, and piano hover and float with painterly poignancy that send the set off on a celebratory note. While The Fall sticks closer to the blues, soul, and Americana roots aspects of TTB's sonic persona than did the earlier volumes, its searing honesty and inspired musical performances make this volume the finest in the series so far.

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