Melody Trucks & Friends After Party Funky Biscuit 1.27.23 with Jackson Stokes, Jeff Lloyd, Willis Gore, Brad Miller, John Ginty, & Kebbi Williams, Ephram Owens, Mark Rivers, TTB © 2023 JskolnickphotographyMelody Trucks

by Todd McFliker

Percussion and vocalist Melody Trucks, comes from a musical lineage as the daughter of Butch Trucks, founder of the Allman Brothers Band. The Jacksonville resident is deeply passionate about performing with others, carrying on the legacy of her father who passed away in 2017. The Trucks family, including marriages, now includes five professional musicians and is still growing. SFL Music and I jumped at the opportunity to chat with Melody about her upcoming show at The Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton on January 27, as well as sharing a stage with her talented family.

SFL Music: Melody, we are looking forward to seeing you at The Funky Biscuit. Have you played there before?

Melody Trucks: Yes I Have, several times. The Funky Biscuit is a very special place to me because it was the first room that my father ever invited me onstage to sing with him in 2015. My dad went to Tallahassee to talk about the studio he had built there, Pegasus Studios. I believe it now belongs to the FSU film school. One of the musicians from Roots Rock Revival, Hub Chason, was there at the time. He invited my dad to a jam at Bradfordville Blues Club, which my dad went to. That was the first night he ever met Heather Gillis, who he then asked to play with Butch Trucks & the Freight Train. But I surprised my dad that night. He had never heard me sing. Of course, he had heard me sing around the house when I was a kid, but I had never thought about performing as a vocalist before. He had never heard me sing in that context. Hub actually allowed me to surprise my dad at the Bradfordville Blues Club. The next time that my dad went on tour around the 2015 Christmas season, their first show was at The Funky Biscuit. I went down to see him. As they were doing soundcheck, I heard dad say ‘Hey Melody, want to come down and sing with us tonight? I was like Absolutely! So, it was because of that jam in Tallahassee that my dad ended up inviting me onstage at The Funky Biscuit the next time I saw him. It was fabulous. From that point on, every time my dad toured in the Southeast, I would join them onstage as a special guest.

SFL Music: That’s awesome. I am fortunate to have gotten the chance to interview your father at The Funky Biscuit. Keeping your family’s spirit of music alive, what is Road to Roots?
Melody: Road to Roots is an extension of Roots Rock Revival, a music camp dedicated to American Roots Music. My dad loved mentoring and connecting with the younger generation. Don’t get me wrong, there are people of all ages at the camp, and he loved connecting with all of them. But he had a special place in his heart for the younger generation because he knew that’s the future of our music. (Brandon) “Taz” Niederauer started at Roots Rock when he was 9 years old. He has gone from a participant to someone giving the master classes. So, he’s kind of grown up through Roots Rock Revival. Another amazing young musician is Lara Cwass that he really connected with. Hub Chason just did a run with me too. Another kid who he had met is (19-year-old guitarist) Jaden Lehman, and he just did the Austin shows with me. The Fitzkee Brothers (16 and 19-year-old drummer and bass player) joined Roots Rock Revival in 2022, and (16-year-old keyboardist) Noah Gibney will play with us this year.
It’s a good way for me to move my father’s vision forward. Also, when dad was here, he was the mobile ambassador for Roots Rock Revival. He would go to music schools, like School of Rock, to actually find these kids. He would talk to them, mentor them and get them interested in coming to the camp. That’s how they found out about it in the first place. I’ve taken that idea and taken it a step further by taking some of the kids (on the road) with me.

SFL Music: What’s up with your latest album?
Melody: I hope to have it out by the end of 2024. I am actually working on it now. It’s taken me a while because it’s a pretty complex project, and it’s autobiographical. Some of the subject matter is kind of hard to write about. It has taken me a few years to get the material together. When I am finally happy with it and ready to release it, it will be my first solo album. My first record was a collaboration between me and my entire band. Everybody was a lead writer and a vocalist on a song. It was a true collaboration. Obviously, I am not doing all of the writing myself on this one, but it is my pet project. It’s just taking a few minutes. (Laughs).

SFL Music: No worries. Do you want to talk about playing with Devon (Allman) and Duane (Betts)?
Melody: It is such a beautiful experience to play music with your family. It’s not just Devon and Duane, it’s all of the second and third generation of the legacy that our fathers built. There’s something really special about it. There’s Devon, Duane, and my brother Vaylor who lives in Macon, Georgia. I got a chance to do shows with Lamar Williams Jr. and Peter Levin here in Jacksonville earlier this year. There’s Barry Oakley Jr. too. I could go on and on about how many of us there are. I got to play with my children, Thomas and Elizabeth, with my dad. It is safe and comforting. It’s exciting and warm. It’s not something that can be experienced anywhere else. Just to be able to do that is an honor and a privilege. I am so grateful that we all could have such great relationships that we can create music together.

Allman Betts Family Revival 12.10.23 Sunrise Theatre Ft. Pierce Devon Allman, Duane Betts, Melody Trucks, Tal Wilkenfeld, Jimmy Hall, Anders Osborne, Luther & Cody Dickinson, Larry McCray, Ally Venable, Alex Orbison, Mattie Schell, Jackie Greene, Ghalia Volt, Frank Hanna,JD Simo, John Ginty, Johnny Stachela, John Lum, jskolnickphotography © 2023

SFL Music: Tell me about the corporate career you gave us to hit the road as a musician?
Melody: As soon as my kids got into school, I didn’t get to see them. So, I started a career in the mortgage industry. I worked there for more than 12 years. I learned a lot. Some of it actually translates over to the managerial part of the music industry. But after dad died, it was a wake-up call. I am not promised tomorrow, and this is where my true passion lies. ‘If I am going to do it, I am going to do it now.’ And I did.

SFL Music: What’s next for Melody Trucks?
Melody: The future holds a lot of collaborations. I love playing music with lots of different people. In the last two weeks, I played in five different projects in five different states with dozens of musicians. It is thrilling to communicate on that level with so many different people. I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself by saying ‘This is what I am doing.’ I have a tour coming right up with Jackson Stokes. He has his own band, but he also plays with Devon a lot. I am talking about working with JD Simo. Damon Fowler too. There are so many people that I want to play with. Plus, I am going to be doing Road to Roots. There’s another project with Vaylor called Brother and Sister. That’s the Allman Brothers Family Tribute band that we have. Road to Roots is a massive piece of my heart. I have also been named the for the administrative voice for Butch Trucks Scholarship Fund. We’ll be raising funds to get more passionate musicians to Roots Rock Revival. There is a lot going on. And I still have that record to make. (Laughs).

SFL Music: If you could travel back in time to see any concert in history, what show would you attend?
Melody: I would go back to the last night of (The Allman Brothers’ 1971) At Fillmore East. They played until 7:00 in the morning. When they opened the doors, the sun came in. My dad said, ‘That was church.’

We will leave the last line to Butch – from Todd McFliker’s interview with the late Butch Trucks in SFL Music January 2016 issue

Butch Trucks: I’m having so much fun playing with my children. Melody is really blowing me away. She is so much better than I thought she was. And at the last two shows, my 14-year-old grandchild, Vaylor’s child, Astrid, got up and sang (The Band’s) “Ophelia” with us. She blew the place apart. I actually had three generations of my family onstage at one time. It was really cool.

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