Review Summary: Even though it can sometimes follow a somewhat formulaic approach, this is largely overshadowed by the immense talent of each member of the band. Already Free showcases the turn of The Derek Trucks Band from Derek Trucks and a backing track into a true ba2 of 3 thought this review was well written
The relative unpopularity of this album in comparison to the other Derek Trucks Band releases on here and throughout the blues community is baffling to me. This was the first album that I listened to when trying to introduce myself to Derek Trucks. I was confused that the whole band would be named after just the guitar player, especially when the guitar player didn't sing. However, after listening to a few tracks, I realized why. Derek Trucks is probably the best blues-style guitarist of this generation. To not name the band after him would be ludicrous. The album had a near instantaneous effect on me and I listened to the rest of the albums in his discography soon after. After listening to all of their efforts, I still believe that Already Free is their best release so far.
Because of Derek Trucks's fame even before he had his own band, the rest of the members of his band get overlooked and often seem as if they're just background music for Derek Trucks. In fact, most of the albums prior to Already Free played out exactly like that. Already Free broke that barrier and really brought all of the immense talent that can be found in the band up to Derek Trucks's level, or at least closer than it was before. All albums before Already Free could have been released just under 'Derek Trucks' and we, the listening majority, would have been none the wiser. With Already Free, the rest of the Band in The Derek Trucks Band showcased undeniable talent. Mike Mattison's vocals were displayed here beautifully, especially in tracks such as Get What You Deserve and Down Don't Bother Me. Granted, Mattison did not join the band until 2002, but even prior to that with Bill McKay as the lead vocalist, McKay was largely overshadowed by Trucks's massive slide prowess. Kofi Burbridge brings so many different dimensions to the band as a multi-instrumentalist. He brings many different instruments to the table and Already Free capitalizes on that. Even Derek Trucks's wife, Susan Tedeschi, makes an appearance in the song Back Where I Started.
My only qualm with Already Free is that it sometimes plays out generically, following the standard formula of a couple verses and a couple choruses, then a bridge leading into a guitar solo. Two of my personal favorite tracks on the album follow this track: Sweet Inspiration and Down Don't Bother Me. However this is very easy to overlook when there is so much talent throughout the song anyway. When a band has as much talent as The Derek Trucks Band, it's hard to criticize.
Already Free is altogether a masterful release from The Derek Trucks Band and displays the band truly coming together as a collective group rather than just five people backing Derek Trucks.