Delta Rae, Jillette Johnson

Folk/Bluegrass
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Editorial Review

By Jess Righthand
Friday, January 4, 2013

If you’ve heard only one song by North Carolina ensemble Delta Rae, it’s probably the hit single “Bottom of the River.” The gritty, grimy, impeccably harmonized foot-stomper makes a lasting impression. The song also features standout vocals from Brittany Holljes, one of the group’s four vocalists.

“Bottom of the River” is so great that it begs the question: How does the rest of the band’s debut album, “Carry the Fire,” stack up?

Pretty well, really, even if most of the other tracks weigh in lower on the soul scale.

“Carry the Fire” is a pop album, and those who love the edginess of “Bottom of the River” will find the record a softer experience. Only “Fire,” featuring another Holljes lead vocal, rivals the raw intensity of that hit.

But every track overflows with enthusiastic harmonies and most beg another listen. The jubilant “Dance in the Graveyards,” the alt-rock anthem “Is There Anyone Out There” and the Simon and Garfunkel-esque “Hey, Hey, Hey” each offer a taste of the distinct elements to the band’s style.

The album puts forth a highly accessible yet unique sound. But perhaps most notable is the pure joy echoing from the music. The members of Delta Rae are clearly enjoying themselves, and so will you.