STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
Emerging from the studio with their third and yet to be titled spring album release, North Carolina’s “Delta Rae” (featuring siblings Ian Hölljes (vocals and guitar), Eric Hölljes (vocals, guitar, piano and keys) and Brittany Hölljes plus Liz Hopkins (vocals), Mike McKee (percussion) and Grant Emerson (bass guitar) is hitting the road with a batch of new songs.
“We just spent the last four days in a studio in Nashville putting the finishing touches on our next album,” says Liz Hopkins, while on tour in the south. “The album is done in terms of what we need to play and sing. Now we go into the mixing process and our producer will work his magic on it, and then it will be done.”
“It is somewhat of a departure in a way from our previous albums, because we are focusing a lot more on the folk and storytelling side of us, which has always been a huge part of what we do,” adds Hopkins. “So, we’re really excited to be focusing in on that more and in just seeing how much we love singing harmony together and the story telling aspect that all six of us have always loved.”
Formed in Durham, North Carolina in 2009, the group released its self-titled debut album in 2010. After signing with Sire Records in 2012, the band released its first full-length album, “Carry The Fire,” featuring the singles “Morning Comes”, “Dance in the Graveyards” and “Bottom of the River,” which received airplay on VH1. One year later, the EP “Chasing Twisters” was released and included the single “If I Loved You” featuring Fleetwood Mac guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham. Touring in 2014 in support of the album, they performed at Lollapalooza and Farm Aid. Their subsequent album, “After It All” (2015), featured the single “Scared.”
Appearances on both “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and “Conan” exposed the group to a national TV audience.
Featuring four lead vocalists combining their unforgettable harmonies and an electrifying listening experience in the studio and live, Delta Rae is a sellout ticket on the strength of the band’s growing fan base throughout the U.S. and beyond.
“I want people to experience catharsis in whatever way they might need to at this time in their life,” says Hopkins. “I think for some people it is a great explosion of joy that they are able to feel at our show. I hear from others it’s a great release; it’s a moment of ‘Hey it’s OK if you’re feeling sad about something or maybe you miss someone that isn’t around anymore.’ I think our music and our shows create a safe place for people to feel those really deep feelings. We like to give people a chance to feel those things.”
“We define ourselves as southern progressive storytellers,” adds Hopkins. “Being in North Carolina has always been a big part of our sound and our band. We don’t sound like a pop group. We definitely have folkie sensibilities. We are a family band as well, so we definitely veer on the side of coziness and storytelling more so than high energy jam music. We are not a band that has apathetic views. We see what can go wrong we see what can go right. But mostly we just love to sing music that makes people feel something, and the lyrics have been very important to us for that reason. Sometimes it will be elation that you are feeling and then in other songs it will be anger or sorrow. Everything we feel in our music we feel very big on stage and very deeply.”
In spite of all the success that has been bestowed on the band in less than a decade, they have not reached the pinnacle of their self-imposed climb and are determined to continue their rise as one of Americana Folk Rock’s premier acts.
“We are definitely not ahead of where we wanted to be,” says Hopkins. “I would say that this has been a very humbling journey. We’ve had a few set backs, but I can’t think of any band that hasn’t had set backs. Any of the things we’ve gone through together as a band have made us stronger musically and personally. I would take a bullet for any one in the band right now.”
“There have been some hard moments where I think we’ve been pretty close to calling it a day, but we pulled through it,” adds Hopkins. “I think at the end of the day we still have so many songs that we want to share with the world. It’s still the most fun job that I can ever imagine for myself personally. Nothing makes me happier than playing in a band and performing for people. We’re not exactly where we want to be, but we’re ready for the journey ahead. At the end of the day, we have so many songs we want to share with the world. We’re very excited about the new album and we’re very excited to emerge with a slightly new entity with new music and a different focus in terms of our sound.”
“I love that our music seems to work for people of all different ages. There’s something for everyone,” says Hopkins. “People tell us that we are the only band they can come to see as a family. “Yours is the only album we can put in our CD player on a road trip without people complaining.” I’m really glad for that. That’s a huge compliment. We make an effort to cross multi-generations. I think what makes us different from any other act today is that we have four very strong lead singers and we touch on several genres. We’re not like all pop or all country. We’re soulful Americana. I don’t know of any other group like ours when I think of all these genres together. I love our band and playing shows and seeing how it makes people feel. I love that exchange of energy. I’m so used to performing that I miss the performance aspect of it when we’re not doing it.”