Delta Rae's Americana roots are no sham in an era where Americana has become all the commercial rage and labels are increasingly finding ways to twist its appeal to make quick cash. A family folk-rock act from North Carolina, Delta Rae is home to the Holljes siblings (Ian, Eric, and Brittany) as well as Elizabeth Hopkins, Mike McCee, and Grant Emerson. And with their southern roots and familial connection, Delta Rae understands what the key to great Americana is: emotional authenticity.
It's impossible to listen to the otherworldly wails of Elizabeth and Brittany and not be moved. Between Brittany's soaring vocal range and the raw, vulnerable texture of Elizabeth's voice, they create a grand sweep to their music without feeling like forced theatricality. Add in the soaring strings and propulsive keys that also define the band's sound, and you have a group that is equal parts Bruce Springsteen and Fleetwood Mac, but with a modern, youthful quality that sets them apart.
- We were lucky enough to meet and record with Don Henley. We were doing four part harmony backing him on one of these songs. I think we did like 20 or 30 takes, and at some point I asked him, "Hey, Don, You think we got it? Are we there yet? We're happy to keep going, whatever you want. " He said, " I don't work that way, it's not like that was the magic take. " He was much more about sticking with it, and keep pushing. That's been inspiring us. - Well it made me realize, perfect is actually the most boring thing that you could go for. We're gonna rob the banks and feel no shame Burn our fingers and change our names And I'll tame the roads that can't be tamed With you Then we'll race like falcons to crash and burn Learn the lessons we never learned If you kiss me harder, someday I'll turn To you To you I wanna run to feel again, to be no one To run under the stars of Orion And all my life I've been burning by the dreams I've had Now I want to run I want to run So let's paint our bodies and chase the sky The Earth will shake and we'll wonder why But if I never know, well, at least I lie With you With you I wanna run to feel again, to be no one To run under the stars of Orion And all my life I've been burning by the dreams I've had Now I want to run I want to run I want to run I want to run I want to - The song Run was definitely inspired by the American landscape. By sort of the feeling of going West. It makes me think about trains. - Yeah, yeah trains and I think that it is a song that makes us all want to run off the stage. You want to move, unfortunately I have to play the piano which means that my right foot is fastened, my left hand is fastened, my right hand is fastened and my mouth. So like my left leg is the only thing that can do anything interesting. - I make sure to do a lot of jumping in that song. - That song is summed up by 'All my life I've been burdened by the dreams I've had, now I wanna run'. I mean, it's very much like we were talking about with Scared. It's very much a theme on this record. - The restlessness. - The restlessness, and also for people that are ambitious. We're ambitious people. We want to write music that people love and put on great shows. It is crippling sometimes, and it's hard to get out of bed. It's hard to face some of those things. Sometimes you just wanna hang that up, and change your name, and go be a different person, and say 'Fuck it', and try something else. - I also think it just speaks to anxiousness. That anyone could feel about anything. Am I making the right choices? Am I gonna be successful? Am I gonna be cool? How do I do it? - Yeah, it's a freeing song. - Yes. - Scared is a song unlike anything we've ever recorded before, and it's a song unlike anything we've ever written before. It really emerged out of nowhere. My brother and I were writing in my apartment one night and it's one of those songs that sort of spills out. I think after we had written the lyrics 'Remember when you said you loved me, remember when you said it would all work out' and we sort of figured that weave of that verse, and then we got to the chorus... Cause I'm scared to be on our own It sort of...we were just saying the words, but then eventually we sort of got to look back and reflect on what is it we're trying to say. This sometimes happens with writing for me at least, it's like what are the words that are coming naturally trying to say. You sort of sift through it. I found it to be very honest. I find myself to be scared at this point in my life a lot. Am I doing the right thing? Am I loving the right people? We're not our parent's children anymore, we're adults. You gotta go out, you gotta live. So that's part of it. We're at that age, we're taking ownership, and I find it frightening. Remember when you said you loved me Remember when you said that it would all work out We packed up and we left one morning And everything you promised didn't happen, and now I'm swirling softly Drifting like the cream in your coffee And you're talking calmly When I'm scared To be on our own When the thrill is gone And I'm scared Thinking what we've done To try to love someone Baby can you keep your promise Baby can I keep you honest Cause I'm scared There's nothing in the sky above me There's nothing strung below us, baby, if we fall We're caught between a spark and lightning We're caught between forever and nothing at all And I'm sorry, I love you But even those words are getting see-through And I'm losing it all to this feeling, baby I'm scared To be on our own When the thrill is gone And I'm scared Thinking what we've done To try to love someone Baby can you keep your promise Baby can I keep you honest Cause I'm scared When you say you love me When you say you love me (I'm scared) Are we ever gonna be okay When you say you love me (I'm scared) Are we ever really gonna feel safe When you say you love me (I'm scared) Is there something I can say When you say you love me (I'm scared) Is it better if I walk away When you say you love me Cause I'm scared To be on our own And I'm scared Thinking what we've done Baby can you keep your promise Baby can I keep you honest Cause I'm scared - We just released our sophomore album, and it's called After It All. It took us 18 months to make it. So we're really happy to have it out. It's kind of a windy road. It has two halves in my opinion. The first half is kind of a straight forward rollicking rock journey... - Adventure. - And an adventure with lots of restlessness. Very much inspired, the way Eric said, by the American landscape. The second half is more of a romantic hug. - Well, I would say if the first album was born from playing live then the second album was really born from playing live. Honestly this second album we wrote entirely and recorded entirely while in the midst of touring. So it really was born out of experiences that we had with long distance relationships. Experiences that we had with each other. Experiences that we had touring and seeing some of the cities that we saw. - And just being away from home incessantly. - Yeah. I would say that on the new record we definitely pushed certain things. Where as the first album Carry the Fire was our first effort. We raised all the money on Kickstarter, and we only had a month and a half to record, mix and everything. There just wasn't much room for experimentation. With After it All we got to road test a lot of things. We got to see what worked live. We got to experiment, and live with the songs for 18 months as Liz said, more or less. - I think on After It All also, we wanted to make sure to bring the grit. Some of the grit from just being on the road as much as we are and touring all over the United States as much as we do. We wanted some of that grit to show up on the record, too. The sweat, and the cracks in the voice. I was born with lightning in my heels Sewed a spur onto my ankle Bitter horse under the steel And I lost hope when I was still so young Had an angel on my shoulder But the devil always won And oh, I lost it all when I got hurt And I can feel you even now Breakin' horses in the sky I can taste you in my rage And in the sweat upon my brow And I went home, Chasing twisters in the canyon My cathedral is the badlands Dust and devils on my conscience Come back to me darlin' So kiss me now This whiskey on my breath Feel the lives that I have taken What little soul that I have left And oh, my God I'll take you to the grave The only love I've ever known The only soul I've ever saved And I went home Chasing twisters in the canyon My cathedral is the badlands Dust and devils on my conscience Come back to me darlin' And I've been waiting for so long now I can feel you in the hollow And every cloud on the horizon Oh, come back to me darlin' Come back to me darlin' Come back to me darlin' (Don't you know I dream about you?) (Don't you know I dream about you?)
Delta Rae is an American folk rock band formed in Durham, North Carolina. They began as a four-piece ensemble and added McKee and Emerson to the dynamic in 2010. Their name hails from a fictional story the Holljeses' mother intended to write about a Southern girl named Delta Rae who summons the Greek gods to earth.