Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Without really understanding all of the fine print and the allocation of the government's stimulus package, our suggestion is that some of it - a nice healthy chunk of those Benjamins and Franklins and Lincolns - should be put into an inconspicuous manila envelope and given to, slid across the table to Delta Spirit. It could be considered a grant or an endowment, just something to ensure that they will keep doing what they're doing forever. It's a promissory note that makes for certain the guarantee that the band will never feel the sting of hardship. The San Diego-based group doesn't necessarily need the monetary support as it's been selling out venues left and right, touring with the splendid support acts of Dawes and Other Lives, but Delta Spirit could literally be considered America and it makes the kind of music that the country should want to support more and be prouder of than an automobile manufacturing company based in the Motor City. It's got the heart and soul of a Motown and a passionate passion for everything that it puts to tape, for everyone it reduces to blubbering, awestruck chills when it's seen live and in person. It, they (these five guys) deserve everything and more, simply for the way that they make a person rethink what they knew or understood about electricity. They find multiple ways of exciting a person - whether that excitement leads them to move about uncontrollably or to have more conviction for the compassion that they might show toward their fellow man. It's music and it's so much more as you learn with Delta Spirit. So, this is the calling that these five guys have answered in their lives, but the music is just half of the equation, maybe less, for the lives that they lead both on and off the stage are in direct correlation to the words of activism that they put to their music. Matt Vasquez unquestionably has one of the best rock and roll voices going these days and his messages of loyalty, caring, concern and mental struggle with being the best person one can be are not at all placeholders or bookends, but the honest to goodness beliefs of all five members. When seen live or known personally, or listened to on record, there's no hiding the fact that there is a desire to leave this world a less turbulent and more livable place that doesn't have to go to hell in a hand basket or be written off as a lost cause. Vasquez has the shine of a whiskey bottle and the sound of both the contents and its shattered remains at times, bringing to the mood a countenance that recalls both the heart and the soul, the epitome of what it means to live uncertainly - in uncertain times and without two solid feet on the ground, just a wishful need. There's an exceptional texture to everything this band does on its excellent debut full-length Ode To Sunshine, one of worn out eyes and resilient need for an epiphany. Sometimes those epiphanies come in, stamping and loud, during the middle section of a song, where there's no use trying to pretend that they don't exist. This is the most inspiring music for fellow men and women, made by men who can't help themselves. This session, featuring the band recording four songs by their peers, was recorded into the wee hours of a night that had them driving straight through from Salt Lake City, Utah to Rock Island, Ill., not just to make a trip and to play a last minute show in front of a dozen people, but to share themselves in the form of music that can't be taken lightly, that shouldn't be heard as anything short of being autobiographical to all - the most exact form of unison that exists.
Delta Spirit Official Site