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Southern roots grow rock, blues – and more

By Courtney Devores
Correspondent

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  • PREVIEW

    The Black Crowes

    The rock band is touring with Tedeschi Trucks Band.

    WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

    WHERE: Uptown Amphitheatre, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.

    TICKETS: $47.35-$101.70.

    DETAILS: 800-745-3000; www.livenation.com.



The first time Susan Tedeschi heard the Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle,” the Grammy Award-winning blues singer was floored.

She compares hearing Chris Robinson’s voice to hearing Gregg Allman’s as a child.

“I didn’t think either of you were white, and when I found out you were white, I was like, ‘Really?’” Tedeschi says to Robinson during a recent teleconference.

“That’s the same reaction Geffen Records had in 1990 when we showed up at their office, and not only were we white, we were 22 and 20 years old,” Robinson says.

Twenty-three years later, Tedeschi Trucks Band – led by Tedeschi and her renowned guitarist husband Derek Trucks – is hitting the road with fellow Southerners the Black Crowes. The co-headlining tour – which Robinson describes as “the earthiest tour with its head in the most celestial places” – stops at Uptown Amphitheatre Sunday.

“That’s the great thing. Music is colorless. There are no borders, and you go anywhere in the world and you might not be able to talk to someone, but you can play music with them,” adds Tedeschi.

Tedeschi Trucks Band releases its second album, “Made Up Mind,” Aug. 20.

Tedeschi, 42, and fellow Grammy winner Trucks, 34, share a lot of the same influences and musical references with the Crowes, but Tedeschi thinks both bands are underestimated.

“It’ll be interesting for people to come out and see us because they already have us in a box. The great thing about these bands is going to be the off-the-charts variety,” she says. “There is a lot of blues and rock influence in what we do, but not everything we do is that.”

One of the elements that’s keeping the Crowes/Tedeschi Trucks tour interesting is the new blood in the mix. The latter has worked with a series of revered bass players, including Soulive’s Eric Krasno; the Crowes have found a new member in Jackie Greene, who has won raves as a solo artist.

“He’s interested in where music will take him in his life and what he can get out of that experience,” Robinson says of Greene. “That will translate to the music that he has to make by himself and with other people and hopefully with the Black Crowes. He’s definitely our trophy wife.”

With so many of both bands’ members having solo careers and other projects, there’s a sense of immediacy to the tour. Trucks still plays with the Allman Brothers. Robinson and his brother Rich both have other bands.

But for Robinson – who says the Crowes may decide to make new music in 2014 – this is where his head is at now. He comes back to it for the same reason as the fans.

“The main thing that’s appealing about the Black Crowes is the relationship with the audience for me,” he adds, “and just how strong a bond that is, and how people respond and react to it.”

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