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Track Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band ‘When Will I Begin’

A slow burner from a blues rock band that works perfectly.

Adam Shay

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I’m a sucker for slower songs, even if my persona is upbeat and alternative rock is my favorite genre. NOne of my favorite groups, Tedeschi Trucks Band, released Signs in February 2019, and their third track “When Will I Begin” tugs my emotions in all the right ways. 

Susan Tedeschi, the lead singer, has one of the best voices in the music industry. Her raspy, edgy, and non-pop vocals is incredibly refreshing. “When Will I Begin” lyrically is beautiful, honest, and wholesome. Tedeschi’s voice allows her to rock out, sing melodically, or in this case, sing in a sorrow-filled manner to compliment the band. With a raspy voice, sorrow scratches out in a flawless rhythm and as an avid listener, I feel every emotion flowing through my body. 

The song is about someone who has been lost for years, beaten down by love and pressure, and has struggled to find a consistent happiness in their life, and then, finally finding that someone to bear the weight of life with.

As the song continues, the focus shifts to discovering the one person to spend eternity with, which was inspired by Tedeschi and lead guitarist Derek Trucks  marriage in 2001. 

“These are the things weighing me down, not letting me breathe, or make a sound,” transitioning to, “I know you’re always gonna be my friend, all the weight in the world is leaving,” should appeal to many. 

Musically, the 11-piece band creates a moody sound to compliment the meaningful lyrics. Tedeschi Trucks is known for their loud and uptempo ensembles, so hearing a ballad is refreshingd. Beginning with the horn section providing deep sounds, they set the tone for the song in a remorseful way. But, with a talent like Trucks on lead guitar, he shows off halfway through the song with a 30-second guitar solo. Including a string section, rhythmic high-hat, and backup vocals, “When Will I Begin” is a perfect ballad. 

The placement of the song in the album is wonderful. Signs is a blend of ballad and rock and traditionally, ballads are placed near the end of the album, but “When Will I Begin” is the third track and follows “I’m Gonna Be There,” a nearly six-minute funk-rock song, creating a blissful contrast between the songs. “I’m Gonna Be There” is funky, including a rocking guitar solo with harmonic vocals. As the song comes to an end, it fades out with violin and quietly transitions to the intro-acoustic and horn filled beginning of “When Will I Begin.” It’s a wonderful way to start off an album instead of using singles or exhilarating rock songs. 

“When Will I Begin” is one of the few slow tunes from Tedeschi Trucks Band, and every ballad they have recorded sounds fantastic. This song hits the feelings in ways the other ballads cannot. The song is incredibly pleasing, one to hit repeat on, has a goosebumps-sound that proves it’s the best song on the album. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Adam Shay is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, During his four years at EIU, he wrote for the Daily Eastern News for two and a half years, covering multiple sports, news events, and writing feature stories. He was also on the rugby club team for two years, a member of the Society of Collegiate Journalists, and finished third in applying for his commencement speech. Currently, he runs a public relations system for a bar in Palatine, Illinois, and in his free time, he is always learning about music, sports history, and American history.

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