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.
Delta Rae also performed their inspiring “Morning Comes” and their heart-tugging “If I Loved You,” or check out their full You Oughta Know Live session here. And then check back for more Delta Rae treats throughout the month!
Our November You Oughta Know artist Delta Rae runs with a crew six deep, bonded in part by blood and in total as a band. The Hölljes siblings make themselves apparent (see: all that fair blonde hair), but when the count runs down and the music kicks in, the connection between the band as a whole is so strong it suggests a family anew. And their gravity, when they are in-synch like that, is seriously strong. Just watch them perform their gripping and gospel inflected “Bottom of the River,” like they have recently on Big Morning Buzz Live and Conan, and you will feel the strong pull of their orbit, too. And you might just like it.
Our tremendous photographer Michele Crowe spent the day with Delta Rae, snapping away as they warmed up for and then rocked their You Oughta Know Live session last month. You’ll see the love they have for each other and their music — and hear it and feel it, too.
Like President Obama, who invited them to open for him at his Democratic National Convention, we dig North Carolina’s Delta Rae. We love that they are a family — Ian Hölljes (vocals and guitar), Eric Hölljes (vocals, guitar, piano and keys) and Brittany Hölljes (vocals) being actual siblings, and Elizabeth Hopkins (vocals), Mike McKee (percussion) and Grant Emerson (bass guitar) being close enough — and the way the incorporate sounds from across all genres — folk, blues, rock — into their sound. Most of all we love watching them perform, feet stomping and sounds flying as all six come together as one great big band.
That’s exactly what they did last night on Conan, where they broke-in their new trash can while performing a drawn out and dramatic rendition of “Bottom of the River,” the new single off of their album Carry The Fire. Leaving most of their instruments aside for this one, they stomped out the song instead, singing a capella and adding the violent clanking of chains in the aforementioned trash can when necessary. “Bottom of the River” is dramatic as is, but performed like they did last night it is straight chilling. Check it out above, and keep an eye on these gals and guys — we’ll have plenty more to say when we celebrate them as our You Oughta Know artist in October!
Delta Rae “Bottom Of The River” 09/19/12 [TeamCoco]
Delta Rae‘s new music video for “Morning Comes,” the second single off the band’s new(ish) Carry The Fire LP, begins in a fairly non-descript manner: a solitary man, wearing a ratty white button-down, appears in the frame and adjusts his skinny black tie. He’s got a pained look on his face, and it’s not quite clear what he’s getting dressed up for (Another sad day at the office? A funeral of a loved one?). However, the video kicks into gear just as the chorus does, and all of a sudden, what we thought was a sparsely decorated room in the middle of nowhere turns out to be set on a beach.
At this point, the video transforms into a combination of ABC’s Wipeout, “Bittersweet Symphony” and an OK Go production. The man, who we learn is Delta Rae singer Eric Holljes, strides purposefully toward the camera while being made to suffer a number of indignities at the hands of his bandmates: He gets sand thrown in his face, gets pummeled by a pair of puget sticks, pushed into a shallow sand grave and buried with bouncy balls, and sprayed with fire extinguishers (to name just a few of his obstacles). Importantly, he does so with a huge grin on his face (and no cuts by the camera).