Tedeschi Trucks Band has released the second instalment of their epic I Am The Moon project, Episode II: Ascension.
The enormous undertaking was first announced back in April and sees the 12-member group release four thematically-linked albums, each with an accompanying film, across 2022.
The albums all draw inspiration from Persian mythology and the Layla and Majnun story of 12th-century poet Nizami Ganjavi – which was in turn, a source of inspiration for Derek and the Domino’s classic album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.
Central to that story is the tale of a young couple, Layla and the poet Majnun (‘The Madman’) – two characters from Persian mythology said to have set the mold for the classic tale of star-crossed lovers, forbidden to be together.
The story’s ancient origins have filtered down into wider popular culture throughout history, reaching not just the magpie ear of Clapton and co, but also one William Shakespeare – reportedly providing the template for Romeo and Juliet in the process.
Tedeschi Trucks Band are the latest to tackle the material, and they’ve done it in depth – finding parallels between the enforced isolation and separation of their two protagonists and contemporary experience of the pandemic and its associated lockdowns.
Episode II: Ascension offers the next seven songs in the 24-track collection and it is packed with some appropriately beautiful and exotic playing, blurring the lines between Eastern scales and Western slide work.
As the band accrued more and more material, connections between different ideas started to present themselves, holding everything together thematically and musically
“There are even chord changes that mirror other tunes on the albums – themes and variations, lyrical allusions, that pop back up,” said Trucks. “You always want to do something bigger and thematic. This is the first time it happened naturally.”
As with the first instalment, Ascension is accompanied by a film directed by Alix Lambert (which you can watch above) that blends studio footage, visualizations and live performance clips. The full physical and digital release will follow on Friday (July 1), while the third and fourth instalments will premiere on July 26 and August 23, respectively.
Head to Tedeshi Trucks Band’s online store to order I Am The Moon.