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Albums Of The Week: Tedeschi Trucks Band | I Am The Moon: I. Crescent

After covering Derek & The Dominos' Layla album live, the married guitar jammers & their band turn the ancient poem that inspired it into an ambitious four-album set.

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THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Tedeschi Trucks Band — the revered 12-piece collective founded by the husband-and-wife duo of guitarist Derek Trucks and singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi — hve just kicked off the most ambitious studio project of their storied career: I Am The Moon, an epic undertaking in four albums with 24 original songs. Inspired by a mythic Persian tale of star-crossed lovers, and emotionally driven by the isolation and disconnection of the pandemic era, the thematic I Am The Moon totals more than two hours of music, unfolding across a robust tapestry of genre-defying explorations that propel the treasured American ensemble into new and thrilling creative territory.

The four albums of I Am The Moon — I. Crescent, II. Ascension, III. The Fall, and IV. Farewell — will be released in successive months, with the I Am The Moon Deluxe Box due in September. The decision to sequence and release I Am The Moon in four episodes came “when we started thinking of records we love,” Trucks says, citing Axis: Bold as Love, the 1967 LP by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. “It’s 36 minutes long. That’s the way to digest a record.”

With that approach in mind, TTB will also present I Am The Moon: The Film, immersive visual companions to each album. The corresponding films will debut three days prior to each audio release, offering fans an early opportunity to digest each album in its entirety as a communal listening and viewing experience via the band’s YouTube channel. Directed by Alix Lambert, the films combine studio and performance footage with atmospheric photography and imagery beautifully capturing the music’s kaleidoscopic textures.

The concept behind I Am The Moon, the Grammy-winning band’s fifth studio recording, was suggested by TTB vocalist Mike Mattison in May 2020, two months after the band was forced off the road by the pandemic. The 12th century poem Layla & Majnun by Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi was the title inspiration for Eric Clapton’s 1970 double-LP with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs — an influential album for TTB. But Ganjavi’s source material resonated with Mattison and the rest of the band in an altogether different way. Finding complex themes and storylines that inspired their creative process, they forged a new, modern interpretation of the vast 100-page poem. I Am The Moon was written collectively and collaboratively, with band members contributing their own unique perspectives on the work. By January 2021, the band was recording at Tedeschi and Trucks’ home studio Swamp Raga in Jacksonville, with Derek behind the soundboard as producer and long-time studio engineer Bobby Tis in charge of recording and mixing.

Operatic in scope, I Am The Moon finds Tedeschi Trucks Band explore romantic relationships, collective struggle, faith, and the human experience. “It’s amazing,” Trucks says, “because we wrote most of this music in a pretty short time span. There are even chord changes that mirror other tunes on the albums — themes and variations, lyrical allusions, that pop back up.” He continues: “You always want to do something bigger and thematic. This is the first time it happened naturally.”