Tedeschi Trucks Band spent the first week of October hosting a residency at their regular pitstop The Beacon Theatre, in New York. They’ve since shared one of the highlights from their closing night – a stunning, emotive and entirely unexpected cover of Harry Styles’ Sign of the Times.
While we might be forgiven for waxing lyrical about Derek Trucks’ electric guitar playing at, frankly, any given show, this is a stop-you-in-your-tracks performance from Susan Tedeschi, in particular. Indeed, her soulful vocal interpretation takes a track that revolves around a repetitive four chord verse and chorus structure (F Dm C C7) and seems to make it levitate.
It’s also something of an unlikely song choice from a band that has often remained firmly associated with rock and soul music of a particular vintage – from Trucks’ Allman Brothers Band stints, to TTB’s full album performance of Derek And The Dominoes’ Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. The latter in turn led to this year’s four-record project, I Am The Moon, inspired by the same source material.
Perhaps it’s this recent immersion in the past that has led them to add some newer material to their ever-expanding setlist. Styles’ 2017 single – his debut solo track – nonetheless has something timeless about it and Tedeschi’s performance, like all great covers, finds the song’s core and re-contextualises it.
In TTB’s hands, Sign Of The Times becomes a sort of lost R&B classic: a could-have-been cut tragically left on the studio floor by Otis Redding or Etta James. Trucks, meanwhile, is content to play the role of beaming sideman in the performance, but still throws in some killer little Steve Cropper-style fills and slides.
Several viewers of the pro-shot footage above claim they were in attendance at the show and have dubbed it the best vocal performance they’ve ever witnessed.
As one comment puts it: “[I imagine] Harry Styles all of a sudden realized he's made It.”
Tedeschi Trucks Band will now head to Europe for a headline tour. You can purchase tickets from Ticketmaster.