The Delta Saints eye blues/soul revolution

The Delta Saints eye blues/soul revolution

Ben Ringel, Greg Hommert, Matt Bray, Dave Supica, and Ben Azzi are starting a revolution, but certainly not of the stereotypical rock ‘n roll variety; no, rock is too trite for these boys.

Theirs is an uprising of the blues. The Delta Saints are taking the South by storm, stealing in and out of venues and hometowns, and letting the echo of their musical explosions rocket them into the proverbial musical realm.

Their sound is an amalgamation of unrefined southern soul and dirty bayou blues. The Delta Saints are as muddy as the Mississippi itself, but they allow their raw intensity to ooze from the music. The band’s dusky vibes radiate heat and an almost painful fervor.

The band evoke a kind of vehement magnetism, a simple, disquieting fury. Blistering harmonica lines whine fiercely over a smoldering dobro. The rumbling bass and drums kindle a weighty dynamism. The band seethes with tension before the vocals erupt into a bellowing confrontation. Thier music seems to beg the question, “Are you with us?”  In the numbing silence after a song, one lurches back into reality to realize he has joined their revolt.

We have Belmont partially to thank for The Delta Saints’ insurrection. The five guys behind the instruments gathered here after all transferring separately. Strangely enough, though, their assembly has been several years in the making.  Supica, bass, Bray, lead guitar, and Azzi, drums, were in a band together at Kansas University. They broke up, went their separate ways, and all ended up at Belmont last August.

The three began collaborating again, this time with fellow transferee Ringel of Seattle, lead vocals, dobro and guitar. Ringel’s history springs from Louisiana; his fascination with rootsy rock primarily induced the band’s sound, although, that blues influence suited funk- and Motown-inspired Supica and Azzi as well.

Hommert, harmonica, was last on the bill. Born and raised in St. Louis, Hommert grew up on Blues Traveler and bluegrass, but the roots thing was attractive to him too. Hommert accompanied the four-piece band a few times before coming on as an official member. Then, The Delta Saints were complete.

Seven months later, they are working on a seven-track EP, and in the process, they’ve learned a great deal. Supica sums up the band’s mentality.

“We all get such equal input and we all have to work around each other so much that we are capable of this amazing dynamic you can’t get any other way.”

Despite the balance they’ve discovered, though, Supica admits, “It’s still super frustrating, because we’ve been doing this together for seven months, and we still run into issues every time we play.”

At the end of the day, The Delta Saints realize that all they’re trying to do is “figure out how to work with each other and make a sound that [is] pleasing and appealing to everyone else, to get what we want in there without taking away what the person next to us wants.”

And what do The Delta Saints want? According to Hommert, they’re just working to accomplish “something that’s […] done a little differently.”

The struggle in realizing that goal seems to lie in the distinction they preserve from their predecessors. The band’s true test is incarnating a singular blues spirit in the hearts of five men.

“There’s something to be said for the simplicity that we’ve learned to embrace,” Hommert asserts

Supica explains that The Delta Saints have begun to grasp that their genre “is a lot more groove-oriented and just feeling it.”

“But that’s where the power of the music comes from,” Ringel said. “The power in it comes from the simplicity and the fact that it’s one driving force.


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