By Christian Thompson
Don’t call Delta Rae your average country band.
With their combination of pristine vocal harmonies, intelligent lyrics, and a knack for writing anthemic, insanely catchy choruses, the six-piece from Durham, North Carolina possesses an arsenal that could make lesser country groups shake in their boots.
Delta Rae made their debut at Duke University in 2009, where its founders, brothers Eric and Ian Hölljes, both graduated. Initially led by the Hölljes brothers along with their sister Brittany and long-time friend Elizabeth Hopkins, the band eventually added drummer Mike McKee and bass player Grant Emerson to round out the group. And they haven’t looked back since.
Luckily for their growing fan base, the band’s prolific tendencies have gifted listeners four EPs, two studio albums, and even a live record. In 2013, their single “If I Loved You,” which boasted a guest appearance by Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham, hit number five on Billboard’s Adult Alternative charts. The song, with its female-empowering lyrics and unforgettable hooks, has since gone on to be viewed more than a million times on YouTube.
Following the single’s success, Delta Rae made an appearance on the Billboard 200 with their 2015 album, “After It All,” a collection of songs that further displayed their impressive melding of modern country’s sleek production with the more rootsy elements of bluegrass and folk. Like a fine wine (or perhaps, more appropriately, an exceptional whiskey) they’ve only continued to improve as they’ve aged. Last year saw the release of the introspective, mature “Blackbird Sessions” EP. As they’ve become more ambitious with each release, it seems as if the Hölljes siblings and company can do no wrong.
If this stubborn spring hasn’t brought its sunshine quick enough for you, Delta Rae will gladly provide you a temporary fix. On Friday, April 20, the band’s tour brings them to Leesburg’s Tally Ho Theater for what is sure to be a night of excellent songs and enchanting showmanship. For all of the harmonies and musicianship displayed on their records, their live show only ups the ante further.
So whether you want to sing, dance, or even shed a tear or two, Delta Rae has got you covered. Just don’t expect your average country group. You just might be blown away before their set is through.
Delta Rae plays the Tally Ho Theater with opener Liz Longley on Friday, April 20. Doors open at 7 p.m. Advance tickets are $25 and are available at tallyhotheater.com.