Don’t be surprised if Susan Tedeschi slips into a little Mahalia Jackson on Saturday. The spirit may move her, she says.
The Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band will host its second annual Sunshine Music and Blues Festival on Saturday at Mizner Park Amphitheater in Boca Raton, with a lineup that includes Leon Russell, Hot Tuna, Galactic and Stanley Clarke. Tedeschi and her slide-guitar hero husband Derek Trucks, who go on at 8:30 p.m., will perform a set with heavy representation from their soulful summer release, “Made Up Mind” ("Equal parts Stax and Muscle Shoals without the dilution of either," said Rolling Stone).The title track is a spirited rejection of bad habits and, perhaps, bad men (“I’m going higher, I’m not afraid/Licking my finger, turning the page”), but also a celebration of life’s simple virtues.
“It means a lot of different things, including industry vs. organic ways of making music,” Tedeschi says. “Society is moving so fast, at some point it’s good to make up your mind about where you’re really coming from.”
The track also has fire in its belly that Tedeschi shares.
“The song felt like a gospel tune to me. It’s got that same groove and spirit,” says Tedeschi, who performed with a gospel choir during her days at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. “For me, the most powerful form of music was gospel music. It led me to the blues.”
Tedeschi says Mahalia Jackson has been the most prominent influence on her, but she’s well versed in the genre’s leading voices, rattling off appreciation for the Clark Sisters, Mavis Staples, Shirley Caesar, James Cleveland and less-heralded Boston-area singer Angela Berryman-Simpson. She says some of that spirit may come out at Mizner Park on a weekend preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.
“It’s a heavy time. A time for reflection,” Tedeschi says.
But the prevailing vibe at the festival will be less reverential, she says, especially when Jorma Kaukonen hits the stage with Hot Tuna.
“He’s a hoot,” says Tedeschi, who also recommends the Ringers, led by Widespread Panic’s Jimmy Herring, who may be joined onstage by a friend. “Whenever Derek and Jimmy get together to jam, it’s going to be fun.”
SUNSHINE MUSIC AND BLUES FESTIVAL
When: Noon Saturday, Jan. 18
Where: Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton
Cost: $49.50 (plus fees) at the gate
Schedule: Main stage acts are Bobby Lee Rodgers, 12:35 p.m.; Stanley Clarke, 2:15 p.m.; Hot Tuna, 4:10 p.m.; Leon Russell, 6:05 p.m.; Tedeschi Trucks Band, 8:30 p.m. Second stage acts are Oli Brown, noon; the Ringers, 1:25 p.m.; Tab Benoit, 3:20 p.m.; JJ Grey, 5:15 p.m.; Galactic, 7:25 p.m.