In a small studio a couple blocks from Congo Square in New Orleans, with a copy of The Mysticism of Sound and Music: The Sufi Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan on an adjacent table, I sat down with Isaac Eady. As the newest (yet, not so new) member of Tedeschi Trucks Band, Eady is stationed behind the drum kit, maintaining the pulse with his partner-in-rhythm, Tyler “Falcon” Greenwell. However, as our conversation shows, just as the multi-instrumentalist is comfortable on different instruments, he feels right at home in the groove with his other projects, particularly Third Moon, his own New Orleans-based ensemble, which will appear in New York City for three shows with Third Moon on April 14 at The Bitter End, April 15 at Nublu and at Brooklyn Bowl on April 16.

AM: For people who are less familiar with you, would you mind describing your background and the path that led to you becoming a member of Tedeschi Trucks Band?

IE: Absolutely, let’s see. The common theme with the group – it’s funny you were talking about Bruce [Hampton] [prior to the formal interview], because, you know it’s him. He had a huge influence on Derek and the people that highly influenced Derek were some of Bruce’s brightest protégés – Jimmy Herring, Jeff Sipe, Oteil and Kofi. Also, the other drummer in the band, Falcon, was in Bruce’s band for a long time.

I had moved to Florida, on the Gulf Coast, I was staying outside of Destin. I’m from Tennessee, that was my first move out to play music, and I found that the coast had this rich music history. We would play Pensacola and Mobile, making our way to New Orleans and Mississippi. Eventually, I had to move here [New Orleans]; after we started playing out this way, I found home. This was it. My first year living here, I was driving to Mobile every Thursday to play this regular gig with a bunch of cats that I was cutting my teeth with before I moved here. One random Thursday, Tedeschi Trucks Band was in town and stopped by the bar that we were playing at. I went to see the band later that year in Charleston; a mutual friend that led the gig got us some backstage passes and I got talking to Falcon. He was like, “Yeah, man I remember seeing you at the Brickyard in Mobile.” We stayed in touch and he’s been a close friend even way before we started playing together. So, when the opportunity came, he called me and asked if that would be something I’d be interested in. “Hell yeah, let’s do it” [Laughs.]

AM: How long has it been with you in the band?

IE: It’s been a little over three years. I started playing with them in January 2021. We immediately started recording the I Am The Moon record.

AM: So you got thrown into that.

IE: Yea, because it was during the shutdown and we couldn’t play live. That was it — let’s take this time to write some music, record, and when it opens up again, we can start playing live.

AM: Was it nerve-wracking to get thrown straight into recording with a new band? I mean, that was a very intentional record, I Am The Moon, with a concept behind it – so would it have been easier on the nerves to go into a live environment if you could have?

IE: I hear what you’re saying, but I don’t think it was nerve-wracking at all because it was that group; the way that Derek leads it and that environment. It’s really open and…a lot of it I didn’t even know were takes that we would keep. I thought we were just learning the songs, we’re just working it up, and it ended up being the sound that we rolled with. And, I was just so excited to be playing with the group; it didn’t matter studio or not, we’re all playing at the same time and feeling it.

AM: Shifting gears a bit, since you mentioned Derek as a leader, you’ve been doing gigs in town with your band, Third Moon, a big band as well, so what have you taken from him and Susan about how to lead a band and how they steer the ship? How has that influenced you when it comes to Third Moon?

IE: They kind of opened my eyes to the fact that, as musicians, we play the gig, and then it’s over in the blink of an eye, and it’s back to life, ya know? Everybody’s human and we’re all so different; the thing that makes the music is the chemistry we have and the bonds between us all. My bandmates are my closest friends and also some of the baddest musicians I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful for each and every one of them and the time and energy they put into the band and bringing this music to life. These Third Moon rehearsals, we could be here for two to seven hours, but we’ll maybe have only played 30 minutes of music. [Laughs.]

We always end up hanging out, eating, listening to music, sharing songs and switching instruments; I guess it is still practice even if we’re just listening to music, everyone just being in the room together is everything. Everyone in the band is so incredible on their own, I don’t want to tell anyone what to play. A lot of the stuff, I’ve played all the parts and recorded it and I show it to them as a guide, like “Hey, this is how I approached it, do what you want with it.”

AM: Who else is in the band?

IE: Right now, the band changes; my thing has been putting as many ears on it as possible, getting all my friends up, getting everyone to know the songs. You know how New Orleans is, people get touring gigs out of here all the time and everybody’s got bills to pay and mouths to feed. The more people that know the music, the better. The touring group, though, has been Henry Green and Caleb Tokarska on guitar, [Edward] “Juicey” Jackson and Jose Maize on trombone. I spend a lot of time writing, producing, and collaborating with Juicey. I’ve been told we’re joined at the hip. [Laughs.] He’s really taught me the most since moving to New Orleans. Brandon Boone [from TTB] – he’s the newest addition to Third Moon and has been absolutely killing it on bass and drums. Then we have either Jirmey Israel on saxophone or Aurelien Barnes [from The Rumble] on trumpet, and Sari Jordan and Lyla George singing with me. What I’ve been striving to do is keep it different. I recently did a gig at Tigermen Den where it was Lyla and Sari, Juicey on trombone, and I played guitar and lap steel and a kick drum with Sammy Cyrus, an incredible snare drum player playing over that. So like a 5-piece broken down acoustic vibe. I’ve really wanted to incorporate that into the show, us having an acoustic element, and then the full band.

AM: The word that came to my mind when I saw you was “orchestral” — there’s a lot of soundscapes, a lot of textures. No one stepping on top of each other though; it’s not exactly choreographed because you guys are improvising a lot, but it feels like something bigger.

IE: Absolutely. I’m so excited about what’s happening with this band, it’s really beautiful. We’re getting a lot of momentum. We actually have a showcase coming up at the Brooklyn Bowl for April 16th. I have an unreleased album that I’m trying to get as many ears on as possible. I’m really confident in this band. We just drove to Key West and played at the Green Parrot and played for two days — three 90-minute sets a day — and we only really repeated a couple of songs. Brandon Boone played with us and he’s never rehearsed with us, but you would never know it.  [Laughs.] For this song, that is our theme song now, called “Third Moon,” I made the arrangement from a time where Brandon Boone played drums and I played bass. It’s actually a Jimi Hendrix song, “Third Stone from the Sun” — our band name actually comes from Russell Batiste. Just about everyone I know in the music industry has been influenced by that man. He was a dear friend, I got to know him very well. I used to go and watch his band play his version of “Third Stone From The Sun.” There was this one funny time where he starts the song, Caleb was on the gig with him – he starts the song, Caleb picks up on it, but his keys player didn’t know what song and Russ started yelling “Third Moon! Third Moon!” So it’s been this inside thing and Russ had his own crazy arrangement. We’ve been experimenting with our arrangement of Jimi’s tune with Russell’s influence highly. It’s been really fun. We just did it in Key West. It was all beautiful – the experience, 20 hours driving from here to Key West and back was so great. The way the band handled it and the road, I can see us doing a lot of it. We’re just getting tighter.

AM: I love that – that a joke is the title of the band. At the end of the day music is supposed to be fun.

IE: Yeah, and I love the imagery of it, too, “third moon.” It gives that, like you said, orchestral, textured, layered idea of space. It’s space-like. Music is just time and space.

AM: Speaking of space, you were at Dead Ahead festival in Mexico [in Mickey Hart’s Mickey & The Miracles, which also featured Derek Trucks, Jay Lane, Giovanni Hidalgo and Karl Perazzo]. Can you talk a little bit about coming into the Grateful Dead world? How has it been different and similar to the Tedeschi Trucks Band experience?

IE: It’s been incredibly influential. I feel like there’s so much in common – there are so many crossovers between the Grateful Dead world and the Allman Brothers world, but they’re doing it from different places in a way. I grew up in the South, so I’ve always been more in tune and knew more Allman Brothers music, but having spent more time out in the Dead world has been great. I’m starting to hear and appreciate it way more. I had no idea some of the places and things they’re doing with sound and songs. I think it’s had a huge influence on Third Moon, too.

AM: How so?

IE: In the way that live songs are going to be different every time. With both of them, [the Dead and ABB], nothing’s forced; it sounds how they’re feeling in that time, in that moment, in that place. There’s beauty in that – in not trying to have the perfect performance every time and “this has to happen like this”. Of course they have their arrangements, but it’s really open to interpretation and how they want to play it in that moment.

A lot of improvisation in both worlds, just a different approach. Especially the double drum thing – the way Mickey and Billy play and the way Butch and Jaimoe play. It’s amazing – they’re so different, but they’re going after the same thing: bigger beat. Mickey’s whole thing with space and drones and soundscapes has been super influential…and healing! Trying to hear those sounds that just make you sit in it.

AM: I’ve tried to wrap my head around some of the stuff he does like finding the sound of the big bang…and I don’t understand it, but I just love the idea that sound is universal.

IE: Totally! It’s all connected.

Dead Ahead was really beautiful, too – getting to be in a band with Mickey and Derek, and Giovanni Hidalgo, Karl Perrazzo, and Jay Lane. Just such incredible musicians, so much experience, beautiful people. I couldn’t believe they let me place bass on that.

It was totally surreal and life-changing to be in a band with him, my bandleader [Derek]…and the best percussionist in the world, Giovanni Hidalgo – he’s an absolute beast, I’ve never met a more phenomenal musician in my life. It’s such an experience to just be around him, and such an inspiration to watch him and learn from him. He and Karl’s chemistry was amazing; of course they’ve known each other for a long time; a lot of laughs. The approach with that gig was the same – everybody’s going to listen to these songs leading up and when we get there we can run ‘em through once or twice, but it’s open: here’s the form, play it how you feel it. I really enjoyed it.