Delta Rae came from the south to play for the Canadian country music fans at Boots & Hearts 2017, and we’re willing to bet they put themselves on more than a few new playlists with their Sunday afternoon set.
The six piece folk/Americana/country act took over the main stage in the sun and showed off their well crafted sound, filled with harmonies, sweetness, soul, and then some as fans sang along, danced, swayed, and cheered in the field in front of them. From the start, their cover of Seven Bridges Road set the tone for the sound that the Boots & Hearts faithful could expect from the band.
We caught up with Elizabeth, Brittany, Eric, Ian, Mike, and Grant after the set to talk about coming to Canada, what we need to eat in the south, sports, and harmonies… and we’re pretty sure that we might have found six new best friends.
When we asked the band what it’s like coming to Canada, they told us that this trip started with the smoothest border crossing of all time, but in more general terms, it seems there are a lot of things these southern sons and daughters love about coming north of the border. They started with the people, and talked about how they’ve encountered so many nice people. But they weren’t satisfied with nice as a description, and Canadians were upgraded to kind and warm, and we could see in their eyes that they were happy to be sharing that opinion.
Delta Rae also showed a fondness for sports in the conversation, as we talked about the Canadian Football League, college basketball, touched on fantasy football, and realized that we were going way longer on all of those topics than we intended when we started our time together.
Note: I didn’t know it at the time, but Ian and Eric both graduated from Duke University, so when I brought up the University of North Carolina basketball program we started a well-natured argument about the superiority of each of our favourite programs. Names like Christian Laettner, Vince Carter, and Michael Jordan were thrown around before a truce was called. However, we may have to reach out to the band to talk hoops again in the spring.
On stage, as Delta Rae belted their way through tracks like A Long And Happy Life (the title track from their new EP) Ain’t Love, No Dry Eye In The Chapel, No Peace In Quiet, If I Loved You, and more, we soaked it all in. These voices, and the instruments that accompany them feel like they were made for each other. There is a smoothness and sweetness that flows through the speakers when they play. And there’s a pureness that exudes.
While we were talking, the Delta Rae members talked about their love for the multiculturalism in metropolitan Canada, and highlighted the fact there are always so many varied ethnic food choices available when they come to Canadian cities. So, naturally we asked about food in the south, and what one thing we need to try on a trip. We were told, without hesitation, that southern BBQ was the way to go. However, there is a disagreement in the band as to the best choice of BBQ sauce. It seems that there’s some strife within the band when it comes to the choice between vinegar and tomato based sauces to cover the meat.
And before we finished our hangout, we talked about those harmonies. I asked if the band they found inspiration in genres of music outside country, and they told me that they grew up with country and gospel flowing together. And that they find inspiration in those gospel harmonies as much as anything else.
Here’s hoping that next time we hang out with Delta Rae we get to hear them sing even more songs for us, and maybe a couple of hymns too.