Delta Spirit

Delta Spirit – Into The Wide [album review]

by Woody on September 16, 2014


Delta Spirit worked their way into our hearts with their passionate brand of Americana via their first two albums – Ode To Sunshine & History From Below. I can still remember the first time I saw them at Buffalo Billiards at SXSW. It was a midnight show on Saturday night and I was flat out exhausted; but wound up skipping down 6th after that set. On their last album, their self-titled third, the band tried to veer away from Americana and shift into a more indie pop sound. To be honest, I had mixed feeling about at first until they came in for a session and their subsequent set at Lolla.

Into The Wide found the band shifting from California to recording in Brooklyn, in what happened to be a Sandy-ravaged space named The Rat Cave. While the last album felt like a transitional album at parts; almost like they were feeling their way through their new sound, they’ve nailed it with Into The Wide. It has this sound that seems made for big venues but with enough grit to keep ’em honest. It pulses with energy but is a little dark at points.

The album opens with Push It which is some of lead singer’s Matt Vazquez’s best work. It is a track about perseverance. The track pushes forward with only the synths acting in a weigh as to not the let the track cave in on itself. The emotion that Vazquez brings to their live shows is on full display here. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that Kelly Winrich’s work on the synth/keys is top-notch here as well and throughout the album. In fact the whole album is a textbook example of how to use synths in a rock album.

The band then delivers a trio of songs that ramp things up with From Now On, Live On and Take Shelter. Live On, in particular, is a great tune about overcoming bullying. Oz (remember him) commented that Take Shelter sounded like a U2 tune, you know before they started force-feeding dreck into your Itunes. William McLaren is getting some sweet tones out of guitar during these tracks.

The album closes with a couple of winners in War Machine and The Wreck. War Machine is defiant and a nod to their folkie origins. It is a perfect blend of the origins of the band with the band they are. The Wreck sounds live a tune that would close a National album with its swirling synths.

There’s a good article about them on Paste where Vazquez makes a comment about being known more as a great live band with good albums. If they made Into The Wide with aspirations of living up to their shows, well then – Mission Accomplished. Into The Wide is the type of album that takes a band to the next level.

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Delta Spirit is here

Our session with Delta Spirit can be found here

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Delta Spirit, Live Session #106

by Woody on September 20, 2012

One of the blessings and downfalls of writing for a music blog is the deluge of music we are lucky enough to experience. Sometimes something worthwhile gets lost in the shuffle and we don’t get enough time to spend with a particular release.

Back in March when Delta Spirit’s self-titled third LP came out, Oz and I both spun it a few times and had a tough time connecting. Our buddy Ryan, their manager, kept telling us to stick with it and you’ll grow to love it. So I would revisit it periodically, each time enjoying a song that I didn’t connect with before. As Lolla approached, I dug in again. I was looking forward to catching their set, but then as luck would have it, we set up a session with Delta Spirit. As the session drew closer, I connected deeply with the album and my anticipation grew like a 5 year old on Christmas Eve.

I grabbed my 5 year old, Hank, and headed downtown for one of the most enjoyable sessions I can remember. A number of the folks were there and everybody was in a great mood on this Lollapalooza Eve. The band was in good spirits and extremely generous with their time, and especially with Hank. Keyboardist Kelly Winrich even went down to the van to get him a Delta Spirit tee.

A couple of days later I grabbed my eight year old Teddy and his buddy Brooks to head down for the Delta Spirit set at Lolla. We managed our way backstage to watch and, right before the band took the stage, the boys met lead singer, Matt Vazquez. Again generous with his time, the boys were blown away when 10 minutes later – he was up on stage in front of a sea of fans.  Delta Spirit’s set at Lolla was one of the best I’ve seen all year and one of the better ones I have ever seen at Lollapalooza. They tore through a blistering hour long set that ended with Vazquez melting countless Smart Phones as he dumped a dozen water buckets on the crowd.

So at the end of the weekend, I gained an even greater appreciation for their latest effort, a greater appreciation for them as people, and a greater appreciation of their live act.

Delta Spirit Band Introduction

Exclusive: Delta Spirit – California [Video: YouTube | Vimeo]

Exclusive: Delta Spirit – Time Bomb

Exclusive: Delta Spirit – Tear It Up [Video: YouTube | Vimeo]

Download the Delta Spirit Live Session as a zip file.


My colleagues recently waxed poetic on LPs by The Fling and Darker My Love. These bands comprised two thirds of a bill that featured fellow Californians, Delta Spirit, on a late November evening at Webster Hall. The concert fell in the middle of a month long tour that found Delta Spirit in top form as they peddled their latest offering, The Waits Room EP.

Released in November, The Waits Room EP presents five songs recorded live in front of two microphones at Prairie Sun Studios in Sonoma County, CA. The EP takes its title from a room within the studio that has been used by, and is named for, Tom Waits. In addition to beautifully reworked acoustic versions of “Bushwick Blues” and “Devil Knows Your Dead” which originally appeared on History From Below, the EP includes three new songs. The first, “The Flood,” is best described as a ditty, while “John Henry” is a hard hitting take on a blues classic. The final song, “My Dream,” is a slow and sumptuous ballad that provides a fitting last contribution for a year that has seen Delta Spirit achieve new levels of success.

The bands growing popularity was clearly evident on that recent evening in November as folks packed into Webster Hall for a blistering set that featured songs from each of their two LPs and The Waits Room EP. Delta Spirit opened with a raucous “John Henry,” and seemed not to pause before the final note of the last song, “People Turn Around,” had been played more than an hour later. Along the way, they enchanted with a tease of Pink Floyds “Wish You Were Here” that morphed into “Trashcan,” the crowd favorite “Bushwick Blues,” and the throwback “Streetwalker.”

This weeks dates in California appear to be the last well hear from Delta Spirit in 2010, but hopefully theyll return to delight their fans in 2011.

Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues (Album Version)

Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues, Live at Webster Hall

Delta Spirit – Bushwick Blues (Waits Room Version)


Delta Spirit are my latest addiction. Their recent release, History From Below, is my most listened to album of 2010 so far and also my favorite. I ventured out to Masquerade in Atlanta to see these songs come to life and my expectations were fully exceeded.

Delta Spirit opened with a few verses of “People C’mon” from their previous album, Ode To Sunshine, before diving headlong into their latest single, “Bushwick Blues.” It was a perfect transition from old to new and the beginning of a night of music that celebrated lead singer Matthew Vasquez’s birthday at the stroke of Midnight.

Highlights of the set included the jaw dropping 3-man percussion on “White Table,” the intensity in “St. Francis,” and the quiet emotion of “Vivian,” a song about Matthew’s grandmother passing away. The song is special on the album, but chills were sent up my spine in hearing the clashing cymbals and drums behind Matthew’s angry vocals: “I know it’s hard to deal with the pain/ The yellow from your liver giving out.”

As the night wore on, the band slowly turned the birthday party into full force on stage, knocking back their fair share of cold ones and cover songs by the likes Louis Armstrong, Pink Floyd, and an encore kicked off with Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”

I took my brother-in-law to this show, a guy who had never heard of Delta Spirit. They won him over playing a trashcan lid and he’s now in possession of Ode To Sunshine and History From Below. Like me, he’s got ’em both on repeat.

And speaking of covers, here’s a favorite:

Delta Spirit – Duncan (Paul Simon cover from their Daytrotter Session)

And here is a fan video of “White Table” from the same show:

And here are the rest of my pics:


The Making of Delta Spirit’s History From Below with Special Guest Appearance

July 9, 2010

Check out a behind the scenes look at the making of Delta Spirit’s History From Below. It‚ offers a nice little peak into the musicians in the band adding their own flavor to what amounts to one of HearYa’s favorite albums of 2010 thus far. The video also features some alternate takes and other cool little […]

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Delta Spirit’s History From Below [Album Review]

June 8, 2010

Today, Delta Spirit will embark on a journey that will find them many new fans . Their sophomore album, History From Below, is one of the finest albums you’ll hear this year. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s novel “A People’s History of The United States,” the album is a giant step forward and an accomplishment I […]

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Delta Spirit’s Bushwick Blues and album details [new mp3]

May 24, 2010

Delta Spirit’s new album, History From Below, is set to release on June 8th. It seems like FOREVER since they released Ode to Sunshine, and I think we’re all pretty excited to hear something new from these guys. They made a new song‚ available from the new record via Brooklyn Vegan. It’s called “Bushwick Blues,” and […]

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Top 10 Albums We Missed In 2007

December 11, 2008

As Oz and I tirelessly compile our list of 2008’s top 50 albums, we continue to bring up 2007 releases that were inexplicably left off last year’s list. Let’s chalk it up to rookie blogging or heads up asses. The good news is that most of the acts listed below have releases coming out in […]

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