The Delta Saints – The Delta Saints (2011)

The Delta Saints - The Delta Saints (2011)
Artist: The Delta Saints
Album: The Delta Saints
Label: DixieFrog
Year Of Release: 2011
Quality: FLAC (tracks+.cue)

Tracklist:
1. A Bird Called Angola
2. Good in White
3. Company of Thieves
4. Steppin’
5. Momma
6. Pray On
7. Voodoo Walk
8. Callin’ Me Home
9. Swamp Groove
10. 3000 Miles
13. Train Song

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For nearly a year, all I’ve heard from people talking about The Delta Saints is that they want a recording. But they don’t just want it, they’ve been nearly begging. Despite the fact that the young Nashville band’s real power is in the kinetic heat of their live show, Saints fans couldn’t stand not having those dirty delta blues tunes to spin whenever they pleased. And so, The Delta Saints have answered those requests with their debut EP, Pray On. With such a fiery live reputation, I had pretty high expectations, but with Pray On, The Delta Saints have drowned out any doubts of their fearlessness or brazen strength as musicians.

Sonorous and turbulent, the beginning of each song feels like a storm – stirring in the distance, suppressing tempestuous winds and pounding rain – tensely brooding and deeply natural. “Train Song” roars in with buzzing harmonica and raging drums that sound alarmingly like a speeding steam engine. “Momma” possesses a raucous and roiling chorus that sets it apart from the other tracks. “Pray On” is a heavy, churning tune, showcasing the gravelly, growling vocals and wailing guitar that The Delta Saints have come to be known for. “Steppin’” starts out slow, gathers speed, and quickly engulfs its audience with a rapid-moving current of instrumentation, driven by searing harmonica and thunderous bass lines. “3000 Miles” is like the clearing of the storm. The clouds part for this lyrical and resonant refrain, allowing The Delta Saints to reveal a clearer, lighter side. Then, in the last track, the thunder rolls again more menacingly than ever in “I Feel Rain.” Rumbling drums and howling vocals echo long after the album fades out, tormenting the listener into wanting more.

It might, therefore, surprise their audience to learn that despite their fiercely passionate music, The Delta Saints themselves are all class and old world simplicity. Like ancient bayou blues musicians, they dress in suspenders and collared shirts, allowing their music to be wild and uncouth while they remain refined and worldly. Even their album cover – which looks like a 20th century letter, red wax seal and all – manifests dignified, aesthetic charm. It seems to me that this dichotomy between music and persona is what makes The Delta Saints so fascinating. Yes, their music is an electric riot of sound, but knowing that the musicians are young and capable makes looking toward their future decidedly exciting. I, for one, will rock out to this album, all the while anticipating the day we have a full-length from The Saints.
By Emily J Ramey

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