Delta Wires is a high energy band out of the Oakland/San Francisco area. I’ve been a recent convert to them and their style of big band blues and hope that one day they will travel east, or more likely, I will travel west in order to catch them live. Their latest album, If Somebody Told Me mixes originals with covers of classic and lesser-known titles that are sure to satisfy the most discriminating of a blues loving audience.
The band consists of Ernie Pinata on harmonica and lead vocals; Tom Gerrits on bass and vocals; Richard Healy on guitar, and Tony Huszar on drums. The horn section is comprised of Caleb Murray on sax; John Christensen on trumpet; and David Bowman on trombone.
Can’t Win For Losin’ starts off with a wicked harp attack before getting some growling vocals. Once the horns come in you know you are in the presence of a solid working band that is firing on all cylinders. It’s easy to see why Delta Wires was once a finalist at the International Blues Challenge. I think this is going to be a sweet album! (4:26)
Next up is the title track, If Somebody Told Me, a slow burn of a number that strips down their big sound in order to get straight to the emotion that the lead singer displays in spades. Easily the most personal song on the CD, dealing with the death of his son, you can feel the heartbreak pouring through every note. According to the notes, this was recorded in one take with everybody sharing in the grief. (6:36)
The mood takes an upswing with Tried. It has a swinging beat with some playful guitar licks giving the vocals a call and response feeling but playful. The whole band gets into the act and makes this just a fun song and a good one to get an audience up on its collective feet. This is an outstanding crowd pleaser. (3:49)
The band follows up with Bring Me Up, another up-tempo number that delivers a fun experience to the listener. It’s a good combination with Tried as they both appeal to an audience and should be a great song to catch live. (3:45)
Two of the great tropes in the blues are voodoo and automobiles, and Delta Wires combines them in Voodoo Cadillac. They go for a swampy feeling which is only fair since the singer wants to go “up the Mississippi to New Orleans.” This is a fun song that I hope gets some airplay. I plan on sharing it anyway and hope that my fellow producers do the same. (4:52)
Next is their take on I Pity The Fool. The band moves into mellow territory with the keys and horns taking on the bulk of the backing sounds in order to give the guitar something to play against when they take the lead. It’s a strong interpretation. (6:24)
Sloppy Drunk follows, an up-tempo number that is really going to rock the bars. Let’s face it, most live gigs take place around alcohol and a mention of the devil’s fire water is sure to elicit a positive response. And this is one that swings! There are some great harp licks in this song to thrill the soul. It’s lots of fun. (3:24)
Another blistering slow burn is next. Hand Out Of My Pocket takes its time – bringing you into the song with more great harp work before adding the vocals. Everyone adds to this, the horns are especially effective and in this day and age where it seems like everything has a hand in our pockets, the message is one that resonates with everyone. (4:57)
Delta Wires then offers their take on John Lee Hooker’s Dimples and do a credible job on it. No one can sing like Hooker and his playing style is unique and fortunately they don’t try to imitate Hooker. they put their own stamp on it and the song holds up well. (7:02)
They close out the album with Blues In Hoss Flat, an old school big band sounding song. It’s a seven-minute instrumental that give the members of the band a chance to step into the solo spotlight. It’s good to hear the horn section take a bow after their hard work playing on the album.
If Delta Wires isn’t on your radar, make sure you put them there and take note whenever they tour or release a new album. You can do all that at their website/. If Somebody Told Me makes a good addition to any blues lover or anyone who enjoys a high-octane band that kicks ass from beginning to end.