Nashville music fans got a lot more than they bargained for last night (Feb. 25), as virtuoso performers Derek Trucks of Tedeschi Trucks Band and Billy Strings played together for the first time at the latter’s show at Bridgestone Arena. Lukas Nelson later turned up unannounced to guest during the second set of TTB’s own gig around the corner at the Ryman Auditorium.
During the set break of TTB’s third of three sold-out nights at the historic Ryman, Trucks snuck over to Bridgestone to join Strings for a cover of Widespread Panic’s “Pickin’ up the Pieces” and then Strings’ “Love and Regret.” Strings had only performed the Widespread song live once before last September.
“It’s kinda funny meeting you here, Derek. You guys got to just see me meet Derek Trucks, for the first time ever. Now we’re going to play a little bit and see what happens,” Strings mused to the audience, later playfully comparing the musical summit to “two dogs sniffing each other’s asses.”
After “Love and Regret,” Trucks hustled back to the Ryman to complete the TTB show with wife and bandmate Susan Tedeschi, and welcomed Nelson for covers of Sleepy John Estes’ “Leaving Trunk” and Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s “Volunteered Slavery.”
Nelson, who frequently plays with his 89-year-old father Willie as well as in his own band Promise of the Real, had apparently been in Nashville since appearing on Feb. 19 at a multi-artist benefit to late entertainer Leslie Jordan. At that event, he teamed with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder for “Maybe It’s Time” from the hit Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper adaptation of A Star Is Born, written by Jason Isbell, and Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe.”
Tedeschi Trucks Band has an extensive tour on tap through late July, with more high-profile dates to be announced. The group is on the road in support of last year’s four-album collection I Am the Moon.