When Derek Trucks joined the Allman Brothers Band as a teenager in 1999, no one cried nepotism. The fact that his eccentric uncle Butch Trucks has been the Allmans’ drummer since the group formed in 1969 had nothing to do with it.
“I don’t think anyone will debate you whether Derek can play the guitar with anyone,” Butch said. “He’s that good.”
Both of the Trucks will perform with the Allman Brothers Band Friday at Time Warner Cable Pavilion at Walnut Creek.
Derek, now 34, started playing guitar at the age of 9 and was jamming in clubs six months later. His stellar guitar skills were apparent when he stepped onstage with blues icon Buddy Guy at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center in 1995. Guy introduced the then 16-year-old Derek as the “future of the blues.” A year and a half ago, Derek was named the 16th greatest axeman ever by Rolling Stone. The master slide guitarist is by far the youngest guitarist in the magazine’s top 50 list, and the only one under 40 years old.
“It’s an incredible honor,” Derek said. “But I’m not going to get caught up in it”
When Derek isn’t out with the Allmans, he’s recording and on the road with his wife Susan Tedeschi as part of the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.
“I love being out with the Tedeschi-Trucks Band,” Derek said. “With that I’m always busy.”
The Tedeschi-Trucks Band played the Red Hat Amphitheatre in July.
“I’ll play some of the same cities around the same period of time since I’m in both bands, and that’s just fine,” Derek said. “I’m always busy, and that’s a good thing.”
For a guitar icon who is part of two prominent bands, Derek is an awful humble player.
“I come from a pretty simple place,” Derek said. “My crazy uncle has been unbelievably successful with the Allmans, but my dad was a roofer. I’m still the son of a roofer. The only difference is that he isn’t a roofer anymore. It’s great that I get to play with so many musicians I admire like (vocalist-keyboardist) Gregg Allman.”
Butch Trucks laughs when speaking of his gifted nephew.
“Derek never needed to work on a roof,” Butch said. “What he does is raise the roof.”