Delta Spirit

Article Contributed by Henry Hauser | Published on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Now that fans have had the chance to soak in Delta Spirit’s sophomore LP, History From Below, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Winrich relishes performing a barrage of live tracks on the band’s national tour. Hot off the presses, Delta Spirit’s forthcoming EP, Waits Room, was recorded in an old chicken coup to harness a vibe of honest, classic Americana.  The unique atmosphere of this “boiler room” studio, bounded by a stunning cornfield mosaic, once provided inspiration for Tom Waits’ Mule Variations.  On “The Flood,” Delta Spirit treats us to a bluegrass drenched biblical tale laden with golden three part harmonies. “My Dream” is a lyrically focused, instrumentally deconstructed Vazquez number. When Delta Spirit encountered trouble in pressing the vinyl EP, they called in a favor to bootlegging buddy Jack White, who graciously spun off a few hundred copies.

Despite a reputation for embarking on long, grueling, coast-to-coast tours, Delta Spirit is no lone wolf, but rather sees itself as part of a broader artistic community.  Drawing inspiration from friends, family, and fellow musicians, the Long Beach, the California based group touts the deep impact of hearing news sounds from local bands. And heads up, Brooklyn! Delta Spirit shouts out the East Coast scene in “Bushwick Blues.” Migration in store? Winrich says don’t count it out, as several of his band mates are flirting with the coastal shift.

Though not looking to register as a political or religious force, several of the band’s songs carry social messages alerting audiophiles to some of the pressing issues of our day. “Streetwalker,” off Delta Spirit’s inaugural EP, chronicles the dark human trafficking industry. “French Quarter” dives into the ugly aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while “911” has an ironic, Woody Guthrie “Jolly Banker” vibe. While it’s easy to pass blame by writing and singing about our societal ills, Winrich cautions against using the stage as a platform to pound fans with ideology by preach political views. He feels artists ought to express sincere and meaningful sentiment, and holds that real progress necessitates direct communal action.