The Delta Saints Bones on LP
On The Delta Saints’ new album, Bones, their first for Loud & Proud Records, the Nashville-based band have stripped their roots/blues sound down to its essence, having rearranged the elements into something uniquely their own. Steeped in rock ‘n’ roll’s building blocks – country, R&B, soul and gospel – The Delta Saints’ second full-length effort explores influences like Jack White, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses and Led Zeppelin. Producer/engineer/mixer and Third Man Records alum, Eddie Spear (Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Neil Young) provided a ghostly, psychedelic atmosphere at Nashville’s Sputnik Sound studios, yielding a sound unlike anything they have created before.
Taking a novel approach of writing songs spontaneously in the studio, The Delta Saints were challenged to create in the moment and as a result, Bones is their most adventurous effort yet. The album is a collection of eclectic songs, beginning with The White Stripes-meets-Led Zeppelin fuzz-toned garage-rock blast of “Sometimes I Worry.” The spare, spooky strains of “Butte la Rose” tell the band’s tale of a Louisiana town purposely flooded and displaced five years ago to save New Orleans. The Grapes of Wrath drama of “Dust,” based on singer/lyricist Ben Ringel’s grandfather, an East Kansas farmer, builds to a primal wail at nature with a stunning coda in which Dylan Fitch’s guitar drops out and Kremer’s B3 organ provides the climax.
The title track, “Bones” features hoodoo organ riffs and African-influenced trance music, which came from listening to the Sahara desert African groove of Niger’s Tuareg guitarist Omara “Bombino” Moctar and Mali’s Tinariwen. The grindhouse honky-tonk chain gang chants of “Heavy Hammer” celebrates the work ethic in no uncertain terms, a call for unity in the wake of Ringel’s frustration about getting stuck in the rat race and feeling trapped by some of life’s mundane tasks. “Berlin,” the first song they recorded after adding Nate Kremer on keys, started out as an instrumental penned in the title city while on tour. It eventually metamorphosed into a country twang intro and a prog-rock jam. Bones is a complete work veering between despair and apocalyptic dread.
The Delta Saints have independently released two EPs (2010’s Pray On and A Bird Called Angola), a full-length album (2012’s Death Letter Jubilee) and a live disc (2014’s Live at Exit/In). With all that they’ve accomplished as a hard-working group on their own, The Delta Saints have earned their graduation to industry veteran Tom Lipsky’s Loud & Proud Records (which has been the home of Rush, Lynyrd Skynyrd, KISS, Robert Plant, Rob Zombie, Lenny Kravitz and The String Cheese Incident, among others).