Monday’s Delta Rae show at the Parish in the House of Blues marked the start of a 50-show run. A Long and Happy Life Summer Tour 2017 is a celebration of the band’s latest EP of the same name, released back in March. The set covered the EP in full, as well as several unreleased tracks that the crowd knew by heart, which seemed to delight and surprise the band all at the same time.
When Delta Rae was last in town, they played to a bigger crowd at Tipitina’s. This time around, the Parish was on tap. The smaller venue gave way for an even more personal performance than the one where they played last year. I went into that show not really knowing who they were and came away with a sense that I knew I’d be back to see them, and I was right.
The band's umbrella genre is country, but they are more than a country outfit. Hailing from Durham, North Carolina, by way of Duke University, the three Hölljes siblings got their band going in 2009. The group is composed of the three siblings Ian (vocals and guitar), Eric (vocals, guitar, piano, and keys), and Brittany (vocals), as well as Elizabeth Hopkins (vocals), Mike McKee (percussion), and Grant Emerson (bass guitar). They began as a four-piece ensemble and added McKee and Emerson in 2010, which gave a whole new dynamic to the band. This tour also introduces a violinist to fill in those extra “sappy” parts, and unexpectedly, towards the end of the set, he came out into the audience and sat and played for the opener, "Liz Longley," then mingled in the audience before returning to the stage.
If ever there was a definition of feel-good music, Delta Rae would easily be the annotation to the note. A friend of mine who was at the show told me that by song five, he realized that they were, in fact, the musical equivalent of his “spiritual animal.” I probably could have gone years without ever making that connection, but it totally makes sense. You can see more pictures here.