Thursday, July 1, 2010

Caught up in the Delta Spirit

I first had the privilege of seeing Delta Spirit live as they opened for Dr. Dog a few years ago. When I go to see live music, I always want to catch the opening acts, for you never know what to expect. Usually I am not too excited and sometimes even disappointed, but every now and then I come away understanding why you should catch opening bands live. I loved and had worked the merch tables for Dr. Dog before and was excited to see them again. I was at a small club that held around 200 people, and the room was abuzz about Dr. Dog. Then this one guy (not from Dr. Dog) came onstage banging a trashcan. At this point we were not sure who he was or if he was just some random person who walked onstage (which in Baltimore, may not be unusual). Then someone else came out and started banging a marching band bass drum that was on the stage floor. A third person came onstage and started banging the drum also. A fourth person came on with a folding chair and started banging it. It all led up to this amazing percussive rhythm, then guitar and piano, and all of a sudden the whole room was engulfed in this band's spiritual energy. The song was "Trashcan." The band delivered every song with equal passion the whole night, and the room was caught up in Delta Spirit. I have been a big fan ever since.

Delta Spirit formed in Southern California in 2005 when 2 members found Matt Vasquez singing on a bench at 2:00 in the morning. He wanted a band, and they needed a singer. Matt’s unique voice and their use of nontraditional instruments create almost an old-time revival feeling in their amazing live shows. You cannot help but be caught up in their spirit. Part R&B, part Americana, plus a little bit of punk sprinkled with some folk-rock, and soul and you get the sound of this band.

Delta Spirit put out its first full-length album Ode to Sunshine by themselves, recording in a cabin in the mountains outside of San Diego. The album had a lot of positive buzz, and they were picked up by Rounder Records, who put out basically the same album on its own label. They then went out with bands like the Cold War Kids and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Like me, lots of people have fallen in love with their live shows.

Delta Spirit has just put out a new album titled History from Below. The title was inspired by historian Howard Zinn. The subject matter of the lyrics are impactful and don’t shy away from a real look at the state of the world today. The band has made great strides forward in songwriting, instrumentation, and vocals. At points their harmonies are both beautiful and haunting. The album features rockers to ballads to even some psychedelic sounds. Enjoy this new video of their single "Bushwick Blues."

I encourage you to seriously listen to this band. I believe you won’t be disappointed. Above everything, please see Delta Spirit live if you are so fortunate to have them playing in your area. These are road-tested warriors who don’t disappoint.

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