If blues, rock, punk, and outlaw country got together and had a musical baby, it was the Delta Saints.
Blueberry Hill, St. Louis
In an area of St. Louis called The Loop there is a local eatery called Blueberry Hill. Housing an abundance of Chuck Berry memorabilia, good food, and local beer, Blueberry Hill is also home to a well-hidden music venue. The Duck Room is the converted basement of Blueberry Hill. With its exposed brick and stone walls typical to St. Louis, the Duck Room is decorated with—you guessed it—ducks. Comic books of Huey, Dewey, and Louie and Howard the Duck, along with wooden mallards in lighted shadow boxes light the walls.
Scattered about were several round-top tables and a bar to my back. The venue is wider than is deep and home to a stage that appears to have been cobbled together out of want and necessity. Thousands of acts, both national and local, have played the stage. My mission this night (which I chose to accept) was to review a Nashville-based band called the Delta Saints.
The opening band was Bald Eagle Mountain from Belleville, Illinois, a good local punk rock band with a touch of metal. They had heads bobbing and toes tapping. I think they did a great job warming up the crowd with Lenny Kravitz–like vocals and good guitar work. The rhythm guitarist was sporting a large St. Louis Cardinals logo in his guitar. After a good set, there was a quick breakdown and the Delta Saints were set to go.
The Delta Saints are recorded as a five piece; however, tonight they were a four count. With two guitarists, bass, and drums, they were a powerful force. As they came out on stage, I couldn’t help but notice how young they appeared. I wasn’t prepared for the power of their sound.
Through soulful vocals, talented guitar, smooth bass, and sure-footed drumming, they have the sound of the truly well-seasoned band of the ’60s and ’70s. If blues, rock, punk, and outlaw country got together and had a musical baby, it was the Delta Saints. From start to finish, they showed they thoroughly and truly enjoy playing music together. They were energized every time there was a solo, even if it wasn’t their own. With every change in rhythm, flow, or beat, their bodies would follow suit.
The lead guitarist and the bassist played in bare feet for the entire show. It was like they were channeling the raw energy from the earth and driving the power into their instruments. In response to face-melting solos, the audience rose to its feet as if they were compelled by unseen forces to groove with the music. Whooping and general hollering were in abundance as our brains were musically liquefied.
I didn’t see the lead singer’s eyes open the entire time. I believe he was gathering strength from those who came before, drawing upon his artistic influences. He put all of himself into his songs with passion and confidence. The bass player owned every note he drew from his instrument; his fingers plucked, pulled, and coaxed with surgical precision. Keeping everything flowing with ease was the drummer, whose steady beats and solid determination were a driving force of the music. At one point, we were given a drum solo akin to something you would hear in a drumline.
The Delta Saints treated us to two encore songs to close out what was an amazing show. As I walked from the Duck Room back to my car, I smiled the entire way. I look forward to seeing them more and owning all of their merch. | Joe Johnson
Photo by Joe Johnson; view the full photo album here.