It’s been about two years – give or take – since Delta Rae released their sophomore album After It All. Two years doesn’t seem like an extraordinary amount of time, but it was enough for the native North Carolinians to shift their sound from alternative with a southern charm to nearly full on country with their brand new four song EP, A Long and Happy Life.
As I have talked about in the past, Delta Rae‘s debut Carry The Fire is one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s one of those releases that gets high marks on everything. The writing, the production, the vocals, the musicianship, everything was done right. One of the things I admired the most about them was the fact that they never tried to fit themselves into a genre. Now with the release of A Long and Happy Life, it appears that they have decided to forego that mentality and establish the band as a country act. The unfortunate part about it is that there was never any mistaking where Delta Rae was from and that’s what was so great about them. There was no pandering necessary and no label needed.
On the other hand, I kind of get it though. We all want our hard work to pay off and sometimes that means reinventing and refocusing. The title track is decent, although you can tell it was written to be radio ready, while “I Moved South” starts the pandering just a touch. “No Peace In Quiet” gives loyal fans a bit of a nostalgic taste, but the final track “Ain’t Love” – although catchy – lacks the depth and edge that their earlier work had. Vocals from the Hölljes brothers, Ian and Eric, are basically non-existent on the EP as well. Instead it is a back and forth from Brittany Hölljes and Liz Hopkins the whole way through.
Like I said, I get that Delta Rae sees the potential and the upside to establishing themselves with country radio and it’s not like A Long and Happy Life is a complete disappointment by any stretch of the imagination. I just feel like if the majority of their releases in the future continue down this path, there is a good chance many of their fans from their start may take a while to warm up to it. The talent is still there, but a little bit of the magic is gone.
Pick up the latest EP, A Long and Happy Life, by Delta Rae on iTunes now. You can stream the EP on Soundcloud below.
Editor in Chief of Lemonade Magazine