Sunday, May 25, 2014

Week 20

Death Letter Jubilee by The Delta Saints

I don't know another way to say this besides, well, this one is just dirty.

The Delta Saints are a blues/folk rock outfit from Nashville who are making some pretty awesome "bourbon-soaked bayou rock," (to quote them).

Modern blues rock albums are a dime a dozen these days. That's not to say they aren't good, but the sheer number of "blues" artists is pretty astounding. Luckily The Delta Saints have given us something that sticks out. 

The album begins with a Zac Brown meets Stevie Ray tune called "Liar." Its upbeat feel disguises the accusing nature of its content in a feel-good yet edgy dress that is pretty easy to jam to. Solid entry.

Next up is "Chicago." Not a huge fan of this one. It's not that I don't like it, but rather it's just not one of my favorites. If you've ever heard Joe Bonamassa's "High Water Everywhere," then you've got the idea. 

The title track comes in third and doesn't disappoint. This one has some tasty second-line drumming with some pretty cool harmonica licks thrown in. Haven't seen em live, but I can't imagine that this is NOT one of the crowd's favorites. There's more energy here than a family pack of Red Bull!

"Jezebel" follows "Death Letter" and the intro had me intrigued with the first kick. All I gotta say about this one is if you're name is Jezebel, I hope you have a good nickname... 

Next three songs in two words each:
"Boogie" - dance tune
"Out to Sea" - meh ballad
"Sing to Me" - drum breakdown

My favorite tune is the next one, entitled "Drink It Slow." This band may do the blues rock thing, but this one has funk written all over it. Ben Azzi is laying down a supa-funky drum track complete with Stanton Moore-esque cowbell. Once again the combo of groovy bass, edgy effected guitar, and properly proportioned harmonica make this one a standout. 

"From the Dirt" follows "Drink" with its straight-ahead rock feel. This one is the poor man's anthem. Just like all great blues songs, this one nails the experience of the blue-collar man - from work to relationships, it's all there. I can dig it. 

Next up are two songs about water. Kind of. First is "The Devil's Creek." While the energy is amped again, complete with some pretty thick instrumentation, this one certainly has a warning to deliver. This one sounds a lot like it was written write after hearing a North Mississippi Allstars concert. Lots of repetition and a cool accel. to boot! "River" follows and while "Creek" was foreboding and upbeat, this one is much more plodding in tempo yet more gospel-ly in feel and sound. If they ever made a sequel to Oh Brother Where Art Thou, this would be perfect.

Penultimate track is "Old Man." After multiple listens, I'm still not sure what to think of this one. Maybe it's the haunting nature of this tune or the layered crescendo of hi hat and electric guitar or the consistent hum in my tube headphone amp, but I can't not listen to it! Much like a tractor beam, this one just sucks you in.

The album ends with a tune called "Jericho." Bonamassa would give this one his blessing. If Jack Daniels Single Barrel had a song, this would be it. This one also has a little New Orleans style surprise for you at the end, so be sure to check it out!

All in all, this is a solid first full-length release from a bunch of guys who went from college jam band to a serious blues rock outfit basically overnight. Give 'em a listen.

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