When the First Couple of the Blues -- Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks -- sat down to talk about summer options, their manager asked about other big-drawing bands they might want to hook up with on tour.
"Well, Derek has very slim pickings on that," Ms. Tedeschi admitted in a recent teleconference. "He doesn't really want to play with anybody, but he was really excited about trying to play with The Black Crowes and with Chris [Robinson], and he really respects them and loves them and thought it would be a good mix, too, with the two bands."
"It's pretty much the same storyline on our side," added Mr. Robinson, saying that "when the idea comes up, it's a no brainer, you know, like let's go out with one of the deepest, funkiest, soulful bands out there. You know what I mean?"
The Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks Band arrive at Stage AE on Wednesday in the midst of a blues, rootsy and, yes, soulful tour that has found the two bands playing separate sets and mixing it up on stage.
"Knowing a lot of the people in Susan and Derek's group and knowing everyone in my group it's kind of hard to keep everybody off the stage if there's a jam," Mr. Robinson said.
The Black Crowes, of course, are the veteran band on this bill, going back to 1989 when they debuted in big, multiplatinum style with the swaggering blues-rock gem, "Shake Your Money Maker."
Led by brothers Chris and Rich Robinson, the Crowes have remained a formidable ensemble, despite having periods of downtime. The band's newest addition is singer-songwriter Jackie Greene, who has released more than a half-dozen albums as a solo artist. Chris Robinson calls him the band's "trophy wife."
"I've known Jackie now for many years starting with my sort of tenure in the Grateful Dead family with Phil [Lesh] and everyone. People know him as a singer-songwriter and like this multi-instrumentalist, but after hanging out with Jackie and playing with him and listening to the records he's into and what his musical interests are, I'm like, 'Oh my god, this kid wants to play lead guitar in like a blues-based rock 'n' roll band. There's a real guitar hero in there.' And it was a perfect avenue for him. And as a matter of fact, I think part of Jackie's, not just his musicianship but his presence, has been really important to just the vibes that The Black Crowes have going right now."
Fans are patiently waiting for new work from the Crowes as the last album of new material was 2009's "Before the Frost ...Until the Freeze." The singer, who has a record coming out in September from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, said the plan right now is to just "stay in the moment." "We're still just kind of scratching our heads wondering why everyone's getting along so well," he said.
The 11-member Tedeschi Trucks Band has only three years under its belt, but the players are all seasoned, starting with singer-guitarist Ms. Tedeschi, who formed her own band in 1994, and Mr. Trucks, who, in addition to leading the Derek Trucks Band, became a member of the Allman Brothers Band when he was 20.
In 2010, the married couple, who met when her band was opening for the Allmans, folded their own bands to form Tedeschi Trucks, which won a best blues album Grammy for its debut album, "Revelator." This band helped her broaden her stylistic range.
"My stuff's more blues and rock and gospel and funk, which we do in this group. But the element I think that I didn't really have so much until I started working with Derek and this group is more of a jazz and world music -- different music outside the box, I guess."
Working in their backyard studio in Jacksonville, Fla., with co-producer Jim Scott (Johnny Cash, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wilco), Tedeschi Trucks has completed a third album, "Made Up Mind," due for release Aug. 20. She says it's a little more rock-oriented and it's the sound of the band "stretching out and playing a little bit more."
"One of the hardest things I've found in my career is making records and having a good time doing it," she said. "Usually, it's kind of a stressful thing. But it's been a lot of fun with this band. I love every song on the record this time, whereas in the past it's not that I didn't love all the songs but I'd sometimes fast forward through tunes. But now I don't even really want to pass anything. So that's a good sign."
On stage, the band has been mixing in the new songs, and she said, "We've also been diving into some of the old catalogs of Derek's and mine a little bit, which we never really had done before. So, yes, we try to mix it up and keep it fresh, too."
All told, according to Mr. Robinson, this is "the earthiest tour with its head in the most celestial places."
It's for fans, he said, who are "more demanding about their concert experience than just, we went and we took some pictures on our iPhone and bought a T-shirt or whatever."
Scott Mervis: email@example.com; 412-263-2576. First Published August 6, 2013 4:00 AM