Between balancing the Allman Brothers Band, two successful solo careers and two kids, husband and wife musicians Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi seem to have plenty to do.
But the Grammy Award-winning pair still had one more idea they wanted to make a reality.
"We had this big, outlandish dream band in mind - something like a Sly and the Family Stone," says Trucks, a guitarist for the revamped version of the Allman Brothers Band and nephew of founding member Butch Trucks. "So we figured, let's do it."
In 2010, the couple put their solo projects on hiatus and put together the Tedeschi Trucks Band, an 11-piece group that includes fellow Allman Brothers Band member Oteil Burbridg. Within a few months, "TTB," as fans have come to know them, was playing concerts in front of tens of thousands. By February 2012, the group's debut CD, "Revelator," won a Grammy for best blues album.
"My solo band had been together about 16 years at this point, and I felt like it was time for a change," Trucks says. "And I think Susan felt the same way. It was a chance to be together more and record together."
The Tedeschi Trucks Band will close out the annual Appel Farm Arts & Music Festival in Elmer on Saturday, June 2, with a full-length concert set. The daylong festival runs from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and also includes performances from Dawes, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Jukebox The Ghost, Rodney Crowell, Cheryl Wheeler, Sara Watkins, Brother Joscephus and The Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, Scrapomatic, Mason Porter and Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why.
The festival will include an artisan beer and wine tent, a food court, juried crafts fair, local cycling tour and performances and activities for children.
Musically, festival attendees can expect a mix of blues, rock, soul and gospel - and that's just from the Tedeschi Trucks Band. The festival will mark the group's first visit to Appel Farm.
"We've been doing a lot of the tunes from the previous record ("Revelator"), throwing in some new tunes that haven't been on albums yet," Trucks says. "It's an evolving band … so, from week to week, anything you throw at them, they devour. But you also have to feed the beast."
While the group has found recent - and fairly quick - success, no one was sure what to expect when putting the band together two years ago, Trucks says.
"You know, we went into this eyes wide open," Trucks says. "Knowing that when you have two solo careers, there are going to be hard-core fans of both. There's going to be some blowback. There's going to be some questioning, 'Why did you do that?' But we felt so good, and the chemistry of the band came together very quickly. It was pretty obvious quickly that it was right."
Still, life on the road with an 11-piece band isn't always easy, Trucks admits.
"Especially when we put (the band) together, in the middle of the economy tanking," Trucks says, laughing. "And certainly the management questioned the wisdom of it at times. But, especially the last six months, the momentum is starting to roll. We knew going into this that it was going to be an experiment, and we were going to make it work."
Helping to make it work are the band members, who both Trucks and Tedeschi have described as "like family."
"About a year into it, we did a tour of Europe," Trucks says. "That's when it really solidified."
Things were going so well that Trucks was inspired to make a live album, he says, after the group returned from their European tour. The result, "Everybody's Talkin'," was released May 22. It includes live performances of songs from "Revelator" as well as covers of rock, R&B and gospel classics performed during a tour across the country.
"I wanted to capture the band while it's rollin'," Trucks says. "It's easy to record live. It's a little more difficult to do it right. I wanted to make sure that we went the extra mile. We grabbed a bunch of gear from the studio and really put together a dream team for that tour, making sure the sounds were great. We spent as much time mixing this as we did on the studio record. We treated it like a full-on album. The process was great, and you know, it was catching a great band at one of its peaks."