Monday, June 14, 2010

Delta Spirit — History From Below
I enjoyed some of Delta Spirit's 2008 full-length debut, Ode To Sunshine, and its set I saw in support of it at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas last year, which left me curious to hear History From Below.
Albums don't get off to much better starts than this Rounder Records release does with the irresistible "9/11," one of the best pop-rock tracks that I've heard this year. Nothing else matches this high point, but there was enough material in the remaining 10 tracks to keep my interest. Foremost among these was the rockier "Bushwick Blues," a more up-tempo roots rock song with piano titled "Golden State," the multi-dimensional and horns-infused "St. Francis" and the rootsy ballad "Vivian," whose piano and harmonies reminded me of The Band.
There's a choral section and what sounded like theremin in the acoustic-based "Ransom Man" and pedal steel in "Devil Knows Your Dead," which collects a number of expressions that wish people well and assembles them into a song. The gentle acoustic ballad "Scarecrow" is the most lo-fi thing on the disc, and things conclude with the eight-minute "Ballad Of Vitaly" — another acoustic ballad that picks up the pace somewhat in a few sections. 
History From Below was produced by Delta Spirit, My Morning Jacket keyboardist Bo Koster and Elijah Thomson, and MMJ's Carl Broemel is responsible for the pedal steel on "Devil Knows Your Dead."
Delta Spirit has hit the road from its San Diego base and will play Toronto's Mod Club on June 26.

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