The Derek Trucks Band

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The Derek Trucks Band
L to R: Mattison, Trucks, Smallie, Burbridge (Scott, rear)
L to R: Mattison, Trucks, Smallie, Burbridge (Scott, rear)
Background information
OriginJacksonville, Florida
United States
GenresSouthern rock, blues rock, jazz rock, world music, jam rock
Years active1994–2010 (hiatus)
LabelsColumbia, Legacy, House of Blues
MembersDerek Trucks
Todd Smallie
Mike Mattison
Past membersBill McKay
Javier Colon
Kofi Burbridge
Yonrico Scott
Count M'Butu, The Derek Trucks

The Derek Trucks Band was an American blues rock group founded by young slide guitar prodigy Derek Trucks, who began playing guitar and touring with some of blues and rock music's elite when he was just nine years old. After experimenting as an adolescent with musicians he met between tours and recording sessions, Trucks founded The Derek Trucks Band in 1994.[1] With family ties to The Allman Brothers Band, Trucks continued to experiment and play with others, carefully assembling his own band over a period of several years. Led by Trucks and loosely based in his family home in Jacksonville, Florida, the band generally consisted of six members.

The band drew upon the wide variety of the influences and musical preferences of its band members. Together, they have gained increasing public notice and critical acclaim for developing a unique sound of their own. Melding together blues, southern rock, jazz, rhythm and blues, gospel, soul, funk with Hindustani classical music, afro-beat and world fusion, the band has released six studio albums, two live albums, and a live DVD. The bandmates have combined their talents to perform pieces from some of the most highly regarded musicians before them, while at the same time collaborating on writing the songs they have recorded. The band's eclectic sound is a way for Trucks to explore his own creativity alongside his role as a guest, and eventually a permanent member, in The Allman Brothers Band.[2]


The Derek Trucks Band was founded by Trucks in 1994, with the introduction of Todd Smallie, an Atlanta jazz and blues-based musician playing bass guitar.[1] As the first to join him, Trucks has said he feels that he's "kind of grown up with him."[3]

Trucks, left; Todd Smallie, bassist

The next year, in 1995, Smallie was followed by drummer Yonrico Scott,[4] who initially filled the role of percussionist, as well as drummer, completing the band's first cohesive rhythm section.[1] Scott began learning to play the drums when still a very young child. Originating in Michigan, with a Motown influence, he graduated from the University of Kentucky with a B.A. Degree in percussion performance.[1] His songwriting collaborations with other band members appear from their first eponymous debut album in 1997, followed with Out of the Madness in 1999, and have continued to date. Scott has been playing with Trucks for over 17 years as of 2009. According to Trucks: "We've developed a kind of 'musical ESP'.. it's nice to have somebody that you don't have to look at...he's just right there with you."[3]

Yonrico Scott, on drums

Trucks continued to gather a steady group of talented musicians together, although two early members did not last. The band's initial keyboardist/vocalist, Bill McKay, left his mark in songwriting credits on the band's earliest albums.

Upon finding an opening for a keyboardist, the bandmates felt fortunate to find Kofi Burbridge, (brother of bass guitarist Oteil Burbridge, with whom Trucks plays in the Allman Brothers Band) to fill the role. Kofi Burbridge is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, and contributed to his versatility with keyboards, organ, flute, and backing vocals,[5] in addition to his songwriting. Burbridge joined the band in 1999.[1] In an interview upon the release of their 2002 album, Joyful Noise, Trucks commented "Kofi Burbridge has been with us maybe 2-3 years, and he's one of the few musical geniuses that I've had the chance to work with..." continuing, "I'm really anxious to see in the next few years to see where he takes this, because he's definitely a huge part of what's going on right now."[3]

Kofi Burbridge
Flute and Keyboards

In 2002 the band's producers, Craig Street and John Snyder recommended singer Mike Mattison to the band.[5]

Mattison, Lead Vocalist

Mattison performed several shows with the band, and Trucks decided Mattison's soulful voice and calm stage presence completed the band's identity.[6] Trucks said of Mattison, "He's got a huge range, so that helps us out a lot when we stretch into some of the different material we cover. It's like having three different vocalists onstage at times. It's a tough piece of the puzzle to find, you know -- a good singer who fits with what you're doing -- so we were very fortunate to hook up with Mike."[2]

Count M’Butu, Percussionist

Mattison has collaborated with Trucks writing songs, on each album since joining the band, including the title track to the band's 2008 album, Already Free.[7] Mattison had a previous band as well—a vocal duo, called Scrapomatic, with guitarist/vocalist Paul Olsen, with whom he still performs at occasional gigs, including some opening sets for The Derek Trucks Band.[6]

The band's final member, Count M'Butu was the only band member that did not appear on every tour. M'Butu, the group's eldest member, played a variety of drums and percussion.[8] Trucks and Scott both have known him for decades, before he joined the Derek Trucks Band, as M'Butu was a regular musical fixture in Atlanta; one of the bastions of the Allman Brothers fan bases. Thus, as of early 2009, M'Butu was the eldest member of the band, which has members whose ages are in their 20s, 30s 40s 50s and 60s. M'Butu has a great deal of African influence in his work, but lived in Sandersville, Georgia most of his life, "so he's got that Southern thing, too", Trucks concluded. His differing influences are compatible with the band's world music sound.[2]

Since the last members joined in 2002, the bandmates have adjusted to near-constant travelling on the road, and have become comfortable with one another. Each member's experiences, tastes, and differing approaches to each piece are a bonus, says Mattison. Since the band embraces improvisation and musical exploration, he has said, "You're just part of the ensemble -- you do your bit and step back and let everybody else do theirs. It's fun to not have to carry the weight of the entertainer."[9]

The band's album, Already Free, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards. That summer they released their live album, Roadsongs. In 2011, the band got a Blues Music Award as Band of the Year.

The Derek Trucks Band would occasionally play together with the band of Trucks' wife, Susan Tedeschi, in a collective known as "Soul Stew Revival". This allowed the couple to spend more time with each other when they would otherwise both be out on the road separately. Trucks and Tedeschi formed a new group called the Tedeschi Trucks Band, with Mike Mattison and the Kofi Burbridge both joining from the Derek Trucks Band. As a result, the Derek Trucks Band has been on hiatus since 2010. Kofi Burbridge and Yonrico Scott both died in 2019.[10][11] Count M'Butu died in 2021.[12]


Current members
Former members



  1. ^ a b c d e Trucks, Derek (2009). "BIOGRAPHY". Official Band Website. Sony Music Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2010-02-09. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  2. ^ a b c Tennille, Andy (February 5, 2006). "Finding His Path". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  3. ^ a b c Trucks, Derek Multimedia Interview, 2002 with Trucks about The Derek Trucks Band, their album, Joyful Noise Archived 2008-05-11 at the Wayback Machine Official Website
  4. ^ Scott, Yonrico (2006). "The Yonrico Scott Band". Yonrico Scott Band Official Website. Archived from the original on February 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  5. ^ a b National Public Radio; WXPN (August 18, 2006). "The Derek Trucks Band in Concert". XPN Live Fridays. Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  6. ^ a b Jambase Band Bio Jambase dTb biography
  7. ^ National Public Radio (May 11, 2009). "Derek Trucks Band On Mountain Stage". Retrieved 2009-05-28.
  8. ^ "Derek Trucks Band — The Band". 2006. Archived from the original on 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  9. ^ Bream, Jon (June 6, 2009). "Mike Mattison keeps on truckin' with Derek Trucks". Star Tribune. Retrieved 27 November 2009.
  10. ^ a b "In Memoriam: Kofi Burbridge, 1961–2019". February 16, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "Drummer Yonrico Scott 1955 - 2019". JamBase. 2019-09-20. Retrieved 2019-09-20.
  12. ^ "Former Derek Trucks Band Percussionist Count M'Butu Has Died". 25 July 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  13. ^ "The Derek Trucks Band music, videos, stats, and photos". Retrieved 16 February 2019.

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