Derek Trucks: Skydog Reborn
"I believe in reincarnation; after seeing Derek Trucks, how could I not?” - Gregg Allman
Authenticity, like star quality, is a hard quality to define, except we know it when we see it. Derek Trucks’ earthy mojo comes through a noble chart – Mercury, Venus and Mars in their own signs (swakshetra) plus an exalted (uccha) Jupiter – with strong planets here testifying to his credibility: no need for fakery or pretence. Quite apart from his musical virtuosity, listening to Trucks in interviews conversing on subjects like Indian classical music and the works of Tolstoy and Garcia Marquez, he evidently is not just another young blues pretender. He's an old soul, with slide guitar skills to die for.
Derek Trucks May 8th 1979, 05:15am, Jacksonville, FL.
Derek Trucks D9
Trucks is the nephew of the late Butch Trucks, the Allman Brothers Band's drummer. In Vedic astrology, the paternal uncle is seen from the 11th house (3rd from the 9th), and Jupiter in Cancer is an apt and benevolent signature. Saturn and Rahu in Trucks’s fourth suggest a complicated home life, especially through his Saturn dasha, from aged 8-27, and certainly this shows hard work in these years establishing himself as a musician. Saturn in the navamsha 7th house shows his wife, the singer and guitarist Susan Tedeschi, who is nine years Trucks senior.
It is natural to compare the guitarists in different generations of a band, particularly since Trucks comes from within the Allman’s inner circle. But it goes further: Duane Allman was killed in a motorbike crash aged 24, in 1971, and there is a sense to many that Trucks today is at very least channelling some of his predecessor’s aura. Gregg Allman, who also died in May this year, recalled moments of deja-vu while playing on stage with Derek Trucks; not just through his musicianship, but in his attitude and seeing something familiar behind his eyes.
It is a temptingly Southern Gothic scenario: the legendary slide-guitar icon dies young only to be reborn into his band-mate’s extended family; showing a precocious gift for the exact same instrument as before, he avoids the pitfalls of his former life (Duane Allman was known as Skydog because he was always high). Uncanny certainly, but plausible enough in the incestuous and ironic way karmic ties apparently work themselves out. Duane Allman's most famous work was his ghostly slide guitar on Layla, and Trucks has followed in his footsteps here too by being invited into Eric Clapton's band from 2006 (onset of Mercury dasha should be a lucrative time). He seems to take all this in his stride, and shows a wisdom and maturity in the rock and roll world as if he has seen it all before.
Is there any way to determine all this, other than by intuition? We do not have a timed horoscope for Duane Allman, still less one accurate enough to explore his harmonic charts. Despite often compelling tales of individuals being identified as the next incarnation of a known character, analysis of their respective birth charts remains rare, and even supposing Derek Trucks’ Sashtiamsha D60 – an indicator of past lives - is 100% accurate, the D60 is about sanchita karma, the aggregate of all past lives rather than the one immediately previous or parallel existence. Derek Trucks' Mars in the 12th house may bring past life memories of recklessness (Gregg Allman said his brother had two speeds, 'Park, or 200mph'), but this is not much to go on. Past-life analysis is a highly skilled a subtle art, and we may have to leave our speculations as just that.
Trucks's Ketu in the 10th probably disposes him to such mystical projections, and it will be interesting to see his career direction when he enters Ketu dasha in five years' time. Old souls gravitate towards India and it is easy to imagine him continuing the studies he began with sarod master, the late Ali Akbar Khan, and furthering the ‘Delta Raga’ genre.