Delta Spirit: All You Soul-Searching People C’mon

Yes, behold the grinning geek to the left … clearly a crass and obvious ploy by the band Delta Spirit to sex up their upcoming debut CD release. Clearly this is a band that will stop at nothing to appeal to the prurient interests of a fractured music world. Seriously, with cover art that pug ugly the stuff inside better be damn good … and it is.

“Ode To Sunshine” won’t be released until late August, but I’ve had the good fortune of getting my hands on an advance copy, and I’m happy to join the chorus of praise for this worthy and wonderful band. This is DIY indie rock, alt-country, roots, roadhouse Americana at its best. These San Diego boys are most concerned with authenticity, not radio friendly hits so don’t expect them to be blasting out of car speakers at every traffic light. This is a word of mouth, barroom to barroom credibility campaign. Listen to some tracks online, get a feel for the lo-fi dynamics, then make up your own mind.

So, since I have the CD and you probably don’t, what’s all the fuss about. Well, how do you feel about Arcade Fire, or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, or Bright Eyes, or Wilco? All these bands share some important musical DNA with Delta Spirit. Frontman Matt Vasquez has the same earnest intensity that fans of those other bands love so much. It’s clear he’s singing to a literate, socially conscious audience not the disposable pop culture crowd. That said, this isn’t dreary message music … it rocks, it stomps, and after a few listens you’ll definitely be singing along.

“Ode To Sunshine” doesn’t exactly come bursting out of the gates. The first track “Tomorrow Goes Away” is a traditional country harmonizer that sounds like it could have been written during the Great Depression. Next up, “Trashcan” brings on the honky tonk piano, and a drum kit that must include at least one trashcan. It’s all well done, but you might be a little perplexed about where it’s all going. Then “People C’mon” comes on, and the fog starts to lift. It’s a straight forward shout out to give a damn, and it packs a righteous chorus.

The song most likely to break through is “Strange Vine.” It’s got a lovely melody played in the rock and roll equivalent of waltz time. Dreamy and introspective. A bit later you’ll find the epic beauty of the song, “Children” … it’s six minutes of indie/emo glory. I love it.

Can these guys be a little, you know, holier than thou at times? Oh yeah. There’s a level of self absorption that can get a tad irritating. The song “House Built For Two” sounds like it was recorded while tables were being bussed in the background … yes, yes, you guys are no frills, troubadours scratching out a living in the most humble of venues … we get it.

But, far and away, the lasting impression you get from Delta Spirit is decidedly positive. They’ve chosen to record with Massachusetts-based Rounder Records … a company that’s always put quality and musicianship first. There will be, in fact already is, a passionate fan base for this band. It will all come down to how the members of Delta Spirit measure success. It’s highly unlikely they’ll ever headline a stadium show, but they will pack their share of smaller houses. They can make a good, honest living doing what they’re doing … if their songs are any indication, that should be a fair deal.


One Response

  1. I absolutely adore the band and I JUST heard of them today. I’m a music fiend, so when I hear of things I investigate.

    Long story short, I bought the CD (yes, the actual disc) and I’ll be seeing them next Friday with Dr. Dog.

    To say that I’m excited is an understatement. I listened to nothing else all day after my “discovery”

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