Tonio K. (a.k.a. Steven M. Krikorian, b. July 4, 1950) is an American singer/songwriter who has released eight critically acclaimed albums and has had original songs recorded by many of Pop, Rock, Country and R&B’s leading artists ranging from Al Green, Aaron Neville and Burt Bacharach to Bonnie Raitt, Wynonna Judd and Vanessa Williams. His song, “16 Tons Of Monkeys,” co-written with guitarist Steve Schiff, was the featured tune in the 1992 Academy Award winning Live Action Short Film, Session Man. His work with Bacharach and Hip-Hop impresario Dr. Dre won the Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Recording in 2005.
Go back to December 31, 2008 when guitarist Derek Trucks and his wife, singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi, were preparing to ring in the New Year. Married since 1999, these two soulmates, equally steeped in the musical roots of blues, jazz, and gospel, had finally decided the time was right to set aside their successful solo careers and commit to a new band melding their vision and talent. It wasn’t the first time they had collaborated; they had shared a stage countless times and traded album guest appearances, all while starting a family together. But on that night, hitting the stage together with members of the Derek Trucks Band and a guest horn section they heard the future.
“The 12-piece outfit puts out a big band sound that still rings intimate, shaking listeners to their emotional core.” – Rolling Stone
Two years later, the couple debuted Tedeschi Trucks Band. The nation’s economy was heading into recession. The popular music landscape was filled with technological theatrics and auto-tuned singers. And here were Tedeschi and Trucks along with their (then) 8-member band, loading up two tour buses and hitting the road with a sound that defied conventional genre boundaries or traditional labels; a gypsy caravan on the rock-and-roll highway. To call it ambitious was an understatement.
During their five-year rise, the group toured incessantly, raising their profile and being handpicked to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, and Santana
In pursuit of their ideal sound driven by world class musicianship, Tedeschi and Trucks put together a musical collaborative like no other, flying in the face of any practical or economic considerations. There have been evolutionary changes to the band along the way, but the freight-train force of veteran drummers J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell were there from the start, along with two brilliant Trucks Band veterans to amplify the rhythm section: Kofi Burbridge with his prodigious talent on keys and flute, and Mike Mattison, with his dynamic vocals and songwriting skills. A 3-piece horn section brought on for studio work proved indispensable to the group’s sound and became a permanent addition – now composed of Kebbi Williams’ intergalactic saxophone, Ephraim Owens on trumpet and Elizabeth Lea on trombone. Industry-renowned bassist Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Sting) joined in 2013, and two years later a third incredible voice, Alecia Chakour, was added to the background vocals provided by Mark Rivers and Mattison; each more than capable of delivering a stirring turn as a lead vocalist.
On the road for upwards of 200 days a year, the TTB family has grown strong, bonding over backyard BBQs and long bus rides, all the while developing a growing repertoire of original material and paying homage to an extensive canon of influences ranging from Sly & the Family Stone, Miles Davis and George Jones to Joe Cocker, Nina Simone, and even Indian sarod master Ali Akbar Khan. Embracing improvisation over convention, and set lists rarely repeated, the collective is adept at exploring almost any musical territory. The genuine respect within its ranks is evident on stage. Trucks’ masterful guitar skills and Tedeschi’s soaring vocals and bluesy guitar shine but don’t overpower the breadth of talent, happily yielding the spotlight as needed in service of what the song deserves.
“I saw them live and it was mind blowing. [Derek] has taken the guitar, specifically slide guitar, somewhere it has never been. His phrasing both with and without slide is uniquely his and just odd and jarring and exciting to listen to. [Susan] is an earnest blues player as well and her voice is astounding. The band was mind-blowing. They take a form that is arguably tired and turn it inside out with originality and musicianship and make it totally their own.” – Marc Maron
Trucks and Tedeschi’s uncompromising vision has paid off. Now 12-members strong, and with a catalog of five albums and nearly a decade of steady touring in the U.S. and abroad, Tedeschi Trucks Band carries a distinguished reputation earned from both audiences and critics as one of the premier live bands in the world. Sold-out multi-night runs at venerable venues like the Beacon Theatre, Ryman Auditorium and Red Rocks Amphitheater are a testament to the can’t-miss concert experience fans have come to anticipate. The band’s own “Wheels of Soul” tour has become a sought-after summer experience from promoters across the country, bringing TTB’s unique stew of upbeat rock and soul together on stage with a slew of guests, sit ins, and supporting bands that have included the late Sharon Jones, Los Lobos and most recently The Wood Brothers and Hot Tuna. 2018 will also mark the sixth year for the TTB-curated Sunshine Music Festival, hosted each January in their home state of Florida.
“Epic is an overused word, but if one contemporary rock band were to rightfully wear it, the Tedeschi Trucks Band might be the ones.” – Santa Barbara Independent
TTB’s most recent CD/film release, Live From The Fox Oakland (2017) was nominated for a Grammy and follows a quartet of critically-hailed and commercially successful albums, including the Grammy-winning debut, Revelator (2011) and Let Me Get By (2016), called “one of the great records of the year” by the Associated Press. The film documents the progress the band has made since its inception, while also showcasing its endless potential to bring out the best in each other every night in any musical direction they choose. It’s clear that the leaders have no intention of slowing down now. As Trucks remarked to Mark Maron on his WTF podcast featured in the film, “I haven’t found this band’s ceiling yet.” For Tedeschi Trucks Band, there may not be one.
John Prine is an American country folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s, and is known for an often humorous style of country music that has elements of protest and social commentary.
The Yacht Rock Revue is everything the late ‘70s and early ‘80s should’ve been: massive sing-along soft rock hits, tight bell-bottom jeans, impeccable musicianship, polyester shirts, glorious vocal harmonies, sunglasses at night, breezy dancing and sax … lots of sax. “The Greatest Show on Surf.”
Locations: Florida and others.
Les Standiford is the author of twenty-one books, including the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean –a History Channel Top Ten Pick & the One Read choice of more than a dozen public library systems; Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America, and Washington Burning: How a Frenchman’s Vision for Our Nation’s Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army–both publisher’s nominees for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards; The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived our Holiday Spirits (a New York Times Editors Choice); Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America (a New York Times best-seller); and most recently, Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles, a featured alternate of the History Book Club.
He is also the author of ten novels, including the acclaimed John Deal mystery series as well as the stand-alone thrillers Black Mountain and Spill (adapted as a feature film).
He has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami and was appointed holder of the Peter Meinke Chair in Creative Writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg for the Spring of 2016.
He and his wife Kimberly, a psychotherapist and artist, are the parents of three children, Jeremy, Hannah, and Alexander. They live in Pinecrest, Florida, in a home built of native Florida pine and maintained by the spirit of John Deal.