One of the things that you notice when you go to see Delta Rae perform live in concert is the band’s remarkable rapport. There’s nary a trace of rockstar ego or “me first” energy emanating from the stage during their shows; instead, the band gracefully alternates between four primary vocalists —siblings Ian, Eric and Brittany Holljes, as well as Elizabeth Hopkins— in a manner that’s exquisitely respectful to each other, and also intriguing to the audiences that see them. Read more…
Anyone who has ever attended a music festival — be that Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Glastonbury, what-have-you — knows that there are few things better in life than spending an entire weekend surrounded by great friends (both old and new!) and even better music. What could possibly make a weekend like this any better? How about spending it ON A BEACH? Ladies and gentleman, we present to you the 2013 Hangout Music Festival, which will takes place this May on the “sugar-white sand beaches” of Gulf Shores, Alabama!
The most-cute moment came at the end of what we can only assume was a rousing set (the only sort Delta Rae know how to play, as far as we’re concerned). Elizabeth Hopkins and Brittany Hölljes hopped into the crowd and pulled Ian Höllje‘s girlfriend of seven-years onto the stage, Ian serenaded her with a verse before getting down on one knee — and this is where she, the band and the entire audience really lost it — to propose. Obvs she said yes, and then there was a lot of grinning, some more singing and a very happy couple caught kissing:
Their month may be passed, but we just can’t quit VH1 You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae and this last clip from their You Oughta Know Live session has just been freed from the vault and is way to good not to share. After a rousing run of their own tracks — “Morning Comes,”“Bottom Of The River,” and “If I Loved You,” – they broke out this cover of Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain,” so stormy and impassioned that the original sounds almost like a lullaby by comparison.
VH1 You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae has been working the campaign trail in support of President Barack Obama; in addition to encouraging young people in their homestate of North Carolina to go vote early, they played an event hosted by Michelle Obama just a few short weeks ago where, according to singer Brittany Holljes, everyone in the band received “full Mama Bear hugs” from the First Lady. However, now that it’s Election Day, Delta Rae wants you to get out and vote, regardless of your party affiliation.
Her brother, Delta Rae singer/keyboardist Eric Holljes, weighed in next. “I think it’s important for everybody, no matter your age, to have some foresight and think about where we’re going to be in 30 years. The decision we make right now is going to impact that, so I hope everybody out there goes out to vote.”
The weather in California’s Napa Valley has been spectacular during the first two days of Live In The Vineyard, but the terrifying conditions that Hurricane Sandy ravaged upon New York City have been at the forefront of every performer’s mind, perhaps none more so than Gavin DeGraw‘s. “Don’t know if you’ve heard, but this bitch Sandy came through and f***ed up my city,” the New York City native announced to the lively crowd in attendance at the Uptown Theater last night, where he was headlining the evening’s stellar lineup that also included Martin Harley, Casey Abrams, A Rocket To The Moon, and Hedley. NYC was never far from DeGraw’s mind during his eight-song, 50 minute performance, during which he also dropped General George Patton’s famous quote “If you’re going through hell, keep going” before performing his new single “Soldier,” in an attempt to deliver some psychic inspiration to the city’s incredibly determined and resilient populus.
DeGraw is one of the more affable and charming performers on the circuit these days, so despite the heavy thoughts on his mind, his concert was far from a funereal affair. Leading the set off with “Sweeter,” his ditty about a Lothario who can’t help but cave-in to his darkest romantic desires, the crowd —all of whom were a few glasses deep in vino— immediately rose to their feet. Staying consistent with all of the performances at Live In The Vineyard, DeGraw stayed perched behind his piano for the entire set, accompanied only by a gentleman wielding an acoustic guitar. This arrangement meant we didn’t get to see any of the fancy footwork he perfected during his “fake dance career” on Dancing With The Stars earlier this year, but this stripped down set gave DeGraw an opportunity to flex his considerable storytelling muscle. He delighted the audience by giving some clues as to the origins of songs like “Chariot” and “I Don’t Wanna Be” (the song that “payed [his] college debts”), before closing his outstanding set with his smash hit, “Not Over You.”
The weekend’s festivities kicked off in earnest last night at Bottega, the restaurant founded by celebrity chef Michael Chiarello (Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, the Food Network’s Easy Entertaining). Chiarello was celebrating the upcoming release of his new cookbook, Live Fire, and put on a cooking demonstration —pasta and clams on the grill!— with the spritely musician LP. The Brooklyn-born, ukelele-wielding LP (Laura Pergolizzi) looks a little bit like Don’t Look Back-era Bob Dylan, but sings like Tegan Quin if Tegan had a more expansive vocal range.
You Oughta Know artists Delta Rae‘s label debut Carry The Fire is hewn mostly from blues or country-rock tradition, but a close listen suggests many and diverse influences. When asked about this, Eric Hölljes began ticking them off — “passionate, vocal heavy, folk-pop, rock” — before catching himself. It’s “terrible,” he apologized, “because I’ve pretty much said most genres in that description. We have a lot of influences.” The breadth of their influences might make for long-winded answers during interviews, but our ear suggests there’s otherwise nothing so terrible about it. Sometimes it means following up a song that rings with gospel influence with another that sounds straight rock-n-roll; other times that means hearing a Kanye West song and then being inspired to write “Bottom of the River,” a song that Brittany Hölljes insists has Kanye “written all over it.” Read more…
We’ve been rocking out to Delta Rae‘s You Oughta Know Live session all month, and we still can’t get enough! And “Bottom Of The River” feels especially appropriate today, as the sky’s are a fall grey and the sidewalks littered with leaves because Halloween is just around the corner, and this song is certain to get you in the mood. But not in the kitschy and purely seasonal way a song like “Monster Mash” might. Rather, Delta Rae will draw you in with their vocal harmonies and then chill you to the bones with their creeping stomps and the clanking of chains in a trashcan. And by the time they get around to offering, “Hold my hand, oh baby it’s a long way down,” you might just want to!
You can download an MP3 of Delta Rae’s chilling “Bottom Of The River” performance here on VH1 Tuner for free! But be quick — the link expires at midnight on November 1st and you don’t want to miss out.
UPDATE (11/1/12): Sorry, this download has expired!
Though you might think otherwise after watching this powerful performance, the members of October’s You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae were all smiles at their You Oughta Know Live. The family-and-friend folk-rock — or gospel, or show tunes, or whatever else might move them! — crew seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company. But as you’ll see, when the count runs down and it’s time to play, the music takes a hold of them in a way that’s almost spiritual.
This stripped down rendition of “Bottom of the River,” from their outstanding debut album Carry The Fire, is the perfect example of the power these six can wield. Instruments left aside, the song builds around their vocal harmonies and is dragged forward by the clanking of chains in a trashcan. When they perform it, the group stomp the song out like an evil in need of exorcising. Delta Rae boasts four vocalists and six members total, and when they all get going they really get going. The end result is a performance so chilling that you’ll be left actually looking for a hand to hold.