The Delta Saints are stepping into a new shade of light. Or more accurately, they are stepping out of an old one. The 5 piece band out of Nashville, Tennessee has been keeping a steady pace in the music world for nearly a decade. Fed by youthful restlessness, hard learned lessons, and a sort of identity crisis; that pace has pushed them to never stop moving forward. They are at their core, who they started out as; a devious mix of sweaty rock’n’roll and new blues. But the band has never accepted these as their only colors. Their drive to constantly evolve has never been more evident than on their new record, Monte Vista. Mixing Zeppelin-esque riffs, dynamic harmonies reminiscent of the 1970s, and tight melodic choruses; this is a fresh sound with the sage experience of a well oiled machine.
Bassist David Supica and singer Ben Ringel became quick friends after meeting in college. What started in Supica’s one-bedroom apartment as record playing and beer drinking quickly escalated into guitar playing and songwriting. Leading to the modern day Delta Saints. A few early members came and went, until 2011, when guitarist Dylan Fitch came into the fold. Several other musicians came and went as until 2014 when Nate Kremer joined the band just 13 days before a 2 month European tour. “It was definitely a trial by fire” says Kremer, whose first full band rehearsal was on-stage during a show in Spain. The final piece of the puzzle came in 2015, when drummer Vincent “Footz” Williams joined the band. The addition of Footz brought a new approach to drums, taking influence from his gospel roots and his deep love of hip-hop which, when paired with Supica’s roots in soul and funk, created an undeniable rhythm section.
The Delta Saints have proved time and again their grit as a touring band. Averaging between 150 and 200 shows per year, the Saints are no strangers to life on the road. They are veterans of the European circuit, having gone over 10 times, with another 2 tours planned in 2017, and have hit every corner of the US at least 5 times over. This is a group that has lived on hotel couches, diner coffee, and out of suitcases for the better part of their 20s.
2016 marked a new chapter in the Saint’s career, as it was the first year in many that they spent time at home. Well, in studios and rehearsal spaces rather, but they spent more nights in their own beds than they had in years. “We really focused on re-learning how to write songs” says Ringel. “We poured through records, and talked about what we loved, what we hated, what we wished we would have written. It was like a creative therapy session” At the head of these “sessions” was Third Man Records alum, Eddie Spear, who’s worked with artists such as Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, and Chris Stapleton, as well as producing the Saints previous record, “Bones.”
Eddie helped create a new focus for The Delta Saints, and completely restructured the way the band wrote together. The process started with the melody and lyric first instead of riffing vocals over an instrumental jam. The band has quoted Spear saying on numerous occasions, “If you can’t sing the melody and play it with just an acoustic guitar, then it’s not right for the record. It all starts with the song.” Spear’s direction can be seen throughout the band’s most previous release “Bones”, and their upcoming record. The songs are stronger, more comfortable in their own skin, and tell an enticing story of pushing to higher ground.
“We approached it as a challenge,” says Fitch. “We wanted to focus more on the melodies and choruses. It’s what we all like. We’re influenced by bands like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones — classic bands that have iconic choruses and singable melodies. These are things that can be done tastefully and artfully. That was our mission.”
And now that every instrument has been put down, every mix approved, and the vinyl presses warming up to put sound to wax; comes “Monte Vista.” Named after the street where Fitch’s “Nana” lives on in Southern California, “Monte Vista” is a story of longing. To be somewhere else, somewhere new, somewhere west.
The album begins with “California,” an anthemic song about picking up and leaving everything behind. “We literally wrote this song during the middle of winter, which is just months of cold and rain. I’d bring my computer to the writing sessions and had a web-cam running from a beach in southern California. I think it was just our way of dealing with seasonal depression” say Ringel. The track starts with a ripping guitar and a dizzying synth line leading into the lyric “Hello, glad to see you made it.”
Next up is “Sun God”, a fuzzed out burner that comes out of the gate swinging. With heavy guitar riffs and vocals balancing between brass and gravel, the chorus rips thought with a bold statement: this band gets heavy. With lyrics like “I am the sun god, you are the excess” the song is about the conflict that comes with generations giving way to the next; a poignant snapshot into modern day politics.
“Spaceman” is a tribute to the late David Bowie. An acoustic guitar starts off with Fitch and Kremer coming in from out in the atmosphere, before Footz and Ringel fade in to fly the ship. “This was one of those really magical moments, when a song just pours out onto the page, and you have to just try to get it all down. Bowie is undeniable. A musical force.” says Ringel. The song shows a softer side of the band, but builds until you feel the boosters kick in on the chorus.
“It’s All In Your Head”, is a swaggering song about an early morning cab ride back to the hotel after a long night out. Fitch introduces the tune with an attitude and drive that takes the listener from the drowsy, half drunk back seat, to the adrenaline spiked chorus that’s sure to get you moving through the next day. “It’s all in your head, the spirit and the thread, coming unravelled until there’s nothing. I may never sleep again.”
“Looking back” Ringel says, “I think this record took us 10 years to make, we just didn’t know we were making it for the first 9” The Delta Saints are a band that has travelled many miles, both literally and artistically. “Monte Vista” stands as living proof that they aren’t show any signs of slowing down, but instead are finally finding their stride.