Musical interlude: Derek Trucks Band’s “This Sky”

Former Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks, ranked 16th in the 2011 Rolling Stones list of greatest guitarists, released Songlines in 2006, an album whose unifying concept is one my Australia winterim class will be considering during its trip this year.

Currently collaborating with wife and well-known blues/soul singer Susan Tedeschi in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Trucks is a guy I’d heard a bit about. He never really caught my attention until the song “This Sky” captivated me during a workout a couple of years ago. It took me until September of this year to purchase the album that held it.

It took me another month to realize that the idea of songlines was the same one I’d been reading about since the beginning of the summer (insert absent-mindeed professor jokes here).

That was when I finally had time to pull out the liner notes and saw the words from Bruce Chatwin’s book The Songlines spread throughout the notes. Those words from Chatwin make up the block quotes in this post.

“…each totemic ancestor, while traveling through the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the line of his footprints, and how these Dreaming-tracks lay over the land as ‘ways’ of communication between the most far-flung tribes. A song (…) was both map and direction finder. Providing you knew the song, you could always find your way across country.” — Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

Trucks is not a musician whose work I feel  competent to review with an acceptable level of expertise — not that any musician is, which never really stopped me or any other reviewer, I guess.  Mainly, though, it’s Sunday and I have other things to do, so I’m going to leave a few links for music fans to enjoy, as well as a YouTube link to the song itself.

“…everyone inherited, as his or her private property, a stretch of the Ancestor’s song and the stretch of the country over which the song passed. A man’s verses were his title deeds to the territory.” — Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

Album cover from Trucks' Songlines with its stylized take on Aboriginal art.

Album cover from Trucks’ Songlines with its stylized take on Aboriginal art.

The last link, in particular, like the “100 greatest” list linked in the first paragraph, is a wonderful trip through musical memories.

I do have a review of the Chatwin book for my students and other interested readers to be posted later this week, so I’m leaving this post as an introduction to that review, along with the band’s music for all to enjoy.

Happy Sunday, everybody.

“(…) the labyrinth of invisible pathways which meander all over Australia (…) are known to Europeans as ‘Dreaming-tracks’ or ‘Songlines’; to the Aboriginals as the ‘Footprints of the Ancestors’ or ‘the Way of the Law.’ ”

“Aboriginal Creation myths tell of the legendary totemic beings who had wandered over the continent in the Dreamtime, singing out the name of everything that crossed their path – birds, animals, plants, rocks, waterholes – and so singing the world into existence.”

“The Ancients sang their way all over the world. They sang the rivers and ranges, salt-pans and sand dunes. They hunted, ate, made love, danced, killed: wherever their tracks led they left a trail of music.”

“There was hardly a rock or creek in the country that could not be or had not been sung.”

“They wrapped the whole world in a web of song.”

“Music (…) is a memory bank for finding one’s way about the world.”

— Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

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