Voodoo is rising from the New Music City. Not the Nashville of its country past, but a city awash in fresh talent fed by decades of tradition; dry hearts fueling the furnace of venues that always beg to be stoked. Leading the way are The Delta Saints.
Since 2007, The Delta Saints have brought feet to floors worldwide with songs like “Bird Called Angola”, “Death Letter Jubilee”, and their standout style of Psychedelic Voodoo Rock and Roll. In 2014 they sold out shows in six countries. Toured 50 dates with Blackberry Smoke. Played Summerfest and the Grolsch Blues Festival, among others. Released both Drink it Slow EP and a live album recorded on back-‐to-‐back sell-‐out nights at the acclaimed Exit/In.
Now The Delta Saints are releasing their most ambitious record to date in 2015: Bones. Recorded at Sputnik Sound Studio in Nashville with producer and Third Man Records alum Ed Spear (fresh from contributing to more than 200 recordings for artists like The White Stripes, The Shins, Brooke Waggoner, Kingswood & Tinariwen), Bones is the sound of a new beginning for the band. It’s also their first album with keyboardist Nate Kremer replacing harmonica.
Kremer became a fixture of the line-‐up after joining the band on a European tour with only two weeks notice. He learned the band’s songs while playing them on-‐stage in Spain, and soon became a catalyst for the band to expand their sound upward and out of definition, bringing forth psychedelic influences that have long been bubbling beneath the surface. In their own words, “There are still huge drum and bass parts. There are still massive distorted guitar solos. Ben Ringel still screams his ass off. But now there’s a whole other dimension of sounds and feelings.”
That new dimension is present from the first track, “Sometimes I Worry”. With the end of the opening tremolo and trashcan jangle, the Saints lock into an acetylene groove that shows renewed vigor and a refined sound. Ringel’s singing is smooth and surprising as always, capable of crooning through the verses but then thundering at a moment’s notice. Now too is the rest of the band. They’ve purified their tracks. Purged them of everything unnecessary, clearing room for bigger riffs and bolder expressions, their rock and roll roots billowing into a hallucinatory haze.
Ben Azzi and Dylan Fitch make the title track “Bones” ripple and roil like black water, backed by Kremer’s haunting hoodoo organ. “Heavy Hammer” is instantly recognizable for its classic Saints swagger and David Supica’s funk-‐laced bass lines. But these tracks now stand out alongside ones like the celestial, sparse “Butte La Rose”, which is lobbed into the line-‐up like a heartfelt hand-‐grenade. Along with the slithering “Zydeco”, it holds not just some of the most psychedelic moments of the record, but some of the most impactful too.
By the time the last notes fade, Bones is more than an album for The Delta Saints. It is a sign of the band boldly stepping forward from the crowd and refusing to be defined by the past. Rattling their would-‐be chains against the old cell bars. Singing to whoever will listen that there are far greater things yet to come.