Arts & Culture Recommends: Delta Rae rocks the State Theatre

Posted on February 24, 2014 in Arts & Culture, Recommends
By nathanbaril

The harmonious choruses of Delta Rae and The Falls’ heartbreak ballads will echo through the halls of Port City Music Hall this Friday.

Delta Rae is a folk-rock group out of Durham, N.C., who will headline Friday’s show, offering crisp harmonies compounded with a modern yet traditional sound. The ensemble includes Ian Hölljes, Eric Hölljes, Brittany Hölljes and Elizabeth Hopkins performing the main vocal work, with Mike McKee on drums and Grant Emerson on bass. Delta Rae is known best for their high-energy live performances and compelling, but relatable songs, ranging in subject matter from break-ups to desk-job disillusionment.

“I really like their music because they have three different members who all sing different songs, and their harmonies are really tight. Plus, I’m a lyrics person, so their lyrics are really relatable,” said Bailey Auspland, a senior chemistry major.

Their debut album Carry the Fire came out last summer and from Forbes to Rolling Stone, it has received critical acclaim. Delta Rae’s mission has been to hone their voices and effectively convey their sentiments about love and the naivety of childhood to their audience while truly enhancing the live experience.

“Their show was full of energy, and they were really well put together,” said McCrae Hathaway, office manager at the State Theatre where Delta Rae played in the past. “The live experience is so much more enjoyable than listening to an album, you’re seeing and feeling the music.”

If you’re looking for a folkie concert, but you don’t want to sacrifice those rock-concert elements you know and love, Delta Rae offers a great ‘alternative’ experience. Delta Rae has the energy of a rock band with an emphasis on lyrical content reminiscent of the old-and-gold folkies of yesteryear.

“I feel like fans of Mumford and Sons will enjoy them very much. I know I do. They’re very soulful,” said Emma Mae, a former USM student.

The band’s influences range from blues, gospel and pop, with the same sense of storytelling and mythology that folk is so well known for. Working from a fairly wide range of influences, a quartet of singers and an innovative percussion section (often involving chains and trash can lids), Hopkins, the Hölljes trio, McKee and Emerson come together to form a complete, professional group. Like many other musicians, the music of Delta Rae draws you in and the lyrics keep you there.

“There’s one song that is apologizing to kids they bullied when they were younger, and that was really awesome. A lot of their songs have a lot of emotional depth, and I really enjoy that in music that I listen to.” said Auspland.

The show starts at 9:00 p.m., and the doors open at 8:00 p.m., with $20 due at the door and $18 if paid in advance. Like most events, the show is 18 and over, so bring your I.D. The Falls will provide an easy transition for Delta Rae with their two-part harmonies and folk-rock feel, allowing new listeners to ease into the night. The Falls will be joining Delta Rae for a nationwide tour that will end at this year’s SXSW Music Festival, a conference that, in 2013, featured thousands of bands on over a hundred different stages over the course of five days. A double feature of break-up/love songs come with perfect timing for getting out of your post-Valentine’s Day funk.