Watch the performance at Ultimate-Guitar.TV.
In February of 2009, Indaba Music partnered with the Derek Trucks Band and their label, Sony Music, on a unique program that invited musicians from all over the world collaborate with the band on their (then) new single "Get What You Deserve" from Already Free (read story on UG).
The song's instrument stems were posted for fans to remix and re-imagine on IndabaMusic.com, an online networking and collaboration. And of the hundreds of high quality versions that resulted from the collaborative program, it was a complete re-interpretation of the song by a young music student in Charlottesville, VA named Mike Gannon that stood out to Derek and his fellow judges. As the grand prize winner of the program, Mike not only won a signed Epiphone G-400 guitar, but also a meet and greet with the band, which he redeemed on August 7th in Hyannis, MA. Here is his story from that memorable night...
"For years I have been a student of music, eager to learn the secrets of the art of moving people emotionally by manipulating sound. To date, I have found no one that does this as effectively as the Derek Trucks Band. Their music, immediately captivating, has a purity and worldliness that I had never previously experienced. It is clear that their music is coming from a different place and has different motives behind it; a refreshing alternative to most of the contemporary music I hear, which has been driving my record collection farther and farther back in time. Due to Derek's generosity in interviews, I've learned much about the band's inspiring approach to their craft and have gotten insight into some of the musical wells that they draw from. Nearly every time I read an interview of Derek, I have a new and extremely eclectic list of records to check out, which over time have made Ali Akbar Khan, Mahalia, Nusrat, Howlin' Wolf, etc. into household names, taking me on a musical journey from the Mississippi Delta to Hindustani tradition to Sufi worship and beyond. This eye-opening process has been enormously transformative, not only as a musician but personally as well; something I, and I'm sure many others like me, are eternally grateful for.
"I first heard about Indaba's Get What You Deserve cover contest on Derek's website, and upon further investigation of the Indaba site, I found it to be a very cool space for musicians to collaborate, share ideas, and get feedback from a community of listeners. I was excited to participate in this community that really seemed to be leveraging the power of web technology to facilitate musical creativity.
"I don't ever think of music as a competition, but I looked at Indaba's contest as an opportunity to be creative and to put myself in front of an audience of musicians. I also looked at it as an assignment; to take what I've learned from the DTB and the many musicians in whose direction they've pointed me, and synthesize it into a cohesive musical presentation that others would get something substantial from. I tried to reinvent the tune, drawing on all my influences as purely and honestly as possible. Though I'm still not sure I succeeded, I enjoyed the process immensely and am very thankful to Indaba for the opportunity.
"After submitting my track, I got great feedback from the Indaba community. It was the first time I'd ever recorded something and put it in front of an audience, but people were very supportive and encouraging. After working on a record on your own for so long, you tend to lose objectivity, so it was affirming to know that my work was appreciated by an outside group of musicians. I recorded everything alone in my college bedroom during my spring break, so this was the first time my work had seen the light of day. Being chosen as the winner was icing on the cake, really, as again, it was never about judgment or competition for me. I was hopeful that my track would reach Derek's ears, but beyond that, I had already gotten what I was hoping to out of the whole experience.
"One of the contest prizes was a meet and greet with the band which I was able to do close to home in early August. Before the show, I went back and hung out on the tour bus while Derek was writing the setlist, and the band shared stories from their recent tour of Europe. They were all very welcoming and made me feel right at home. It was great to find that beyond being world class musicians, they are all genuine and generous people. Before I left the bus, Derek asked if I had a guitar with me, which I didn't, but his tech Bobby was able to dig up an extra, which they invited me to use on stage with them during Get Out My Life, which would come about midway through the set. Though I wasn't expecting this at all, I was thrilled to have the opportunity, and luckily I carry a slide in my pocket 24/7, wherever I go. I kept to myself the fact that I had never really performed before. Being primarily focused on composition and the art of the record, I have yet to delve into live performance, but this seemed like a good time to start, so I didn't say anything. When the show started, I went out to watch the band do its thing, which it did exceptionally well that night. It's always amazing to me how these guys keep improving, raising the bar and reinventing themselves night after night. When it came time for Get Out My Life, Bobby pulled out the extra guitar, which happened to be a vintage 1959 Les Paul. I carefully accepted this monument of guitar history and plugged into Derek's second amp, now equipped with a tone I had been studying for years. As we started to play, it was incredible to be hearing the music from inside the band. I could feel the enormous musical presence of each band member more tangibly than I ever could from the audience. Derek's guitar next to me was just a force, clearly meticulously refined over the course of thousands of gigs. During the verses, I was trying to fit in without getting in anyone's way, and then when Derek nodded at me for a solo, I just tried not to think too much. I was a bit tight from nerves, as this was a fairly overwhelming first gig for me, but that band really knows how to back a soloist and can raise anyone up a few notches.
"As I left the stage they were very kind and went out of their way to shake my hand, even though I don't hold a candle to the heavyweights they're used to having sit in with them. After the show, they kindly greeted me again and I got a few more questions in before it was time to go. From beginning to end it was a phenomenal experience, made possible by the openness of the guys in the band, and by the ingenuity of Indaba Music.
"Although I don't think I've yet created what Derek would call real music, this has been an enormously helpful first step for me and I thank Indaba for the opportunity. Indaba is a great resource and will help countless musicians along their path. I look forward to the search for real musicianship and hope to be able to contribute in a positive way to music's evolution. I am blessed to be able to strive for perhaps the world's best example of this search, the Derek Trucks Band.
"Finally, one last thank you to the DTB for treating the art of music with respect and dignity, and for putting in all the hard work it takes to push it to the next level. It has made a huge difference in my life and in many others. I look forward to watching DTB's future unfold.
Here is a widget that includes Mike's winning rendition of Get What You Deserve.