North Carolina sextet Delta Rae is generally billed as a folk band, but make no mistake. The Delta Rae that performed Jan. 29 at Denver’s Bluebird Theater was pure power pop and all the better for it.
Blame Delta Rae’s Southern Gothic viral video “Bottom of the River” (not to mention the legions of Mumford & Sons fangirls looking for the next hot folk group) for the misunderstanding. But it’s not the worst lie ever perpetrated on the music-loving public: There’s certainly a place for honest, well-made pop music in this world and Delta Rae is staking out that territory with pride.
“Bottom of the River” was impressively spooky, complete with ominous lighting and plenty of trash can banging by drummer Mike McKee. But the rest of the set involved one or more of the group’s four (!) singers belting it out as hard as they could go over soaring pianos and guitars in four-four time. The effect was arena-sized, even within the basement-scale Bluebird.
Internet rumors that Delta Rae is a record company creation and/or a stealth Christian band can’t be dismissed: Everyone in the band is remarkably good-looking with jarringly smooth singing voices, and their songs feature dozens of references to an amazing “He” who can make any problem go away.
But in the end, who cares? Great music is great music, no matter its source.