Susan Tedeschi

Wait for Me

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Since it comes a whopping four years after her wildly successful major-label debut and Best New Artist Grammy nomination, the appropriately titled Wait for Me is a highly anticipated follow-up for an artist who nearly slipped into the "where is she now" bin. While the album doesn't totally justify the extended wait, Tedeschi returns with a tough, uncompromising release that's the equal of its predecessor. After touring the world, then marrying and having a baby (with husband/guitarist Derek Trucks), Tedeschi has shifted styles from guitar-slinging blues mama into a subtler but still passionate R&B approach. Trucks contributes a few of the album's bluesiest moments, laying into a slide solo on Paul Pena's exuberant "Gonna Move" that injects soul into its hooky chorus and bouncy groove. The title track's low-key horns, jazzy flourishes, and gospel underpinnings recall '60s Etta James, and a version of Dylan's "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" transforms the folk chestnut into a touching, torchy swamp ballad. It's here and on Tedeschi's own lovely "In the Garden" where her expressive vocals are a ringer for Bonnie Raitt's similar style. Those fired up by Just Won't Burn will easily warm to Wait for Me. With classy yet scorching performances and songs infused with roots rock, blues, funk, and even pop, it's a crossover album that oozes with integrity, terrific playing, and a loose yet distinctive direction.

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