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Delta Spirit – The Waits Room EP

on December 03, 2010, 7:59am

Rootsy San Diego quartet Delta Spirit dodged the dreaded sophomore slump with History from Below, an album that earned four stars here at Consequence of Sound. A mere five months later, the Delta Spirit winning steak continues with The Waits Room, an EP named after a closet at Prairie Studios that was converted into a special studio by none other than Tom Waits. It’s an especially fitting title because the spirit and influence of the studio’s namesake are evident throughout the EP.

Two songs from History from Below resurface on The Waits Room, but with new arrangements. The stripped-down, former rocker “Bushwick Blues” achieves a level of intimacy as a restrained but exquisite piece of Americana. “Devil Knows You’re Dead” fares equally well as a gentle, acoustic strummer.

It’s the soulfulness in the voice of frontman Matt Vasquez that makes Delta Spirit’s brand of Americana shine, exemplified on the bluegrass gem “The Flood”, with its stellar three-part harmonies giving the Biblical saga a folksy touch. The Waits Room may bring to mind Harvest-era Neil Young, but Delta Spirit proves they can still let loose on the raucous “John Henry”,  where a bluegrass standard gets a punk rock-meets-blues makeover that’s a hand-clapping foot-stomper.

On The Waits Room, Delta Spirit makes Americana through the filter of California indie rock. It’s a decidedly retro sound, but there is an element of freshness to the nostalgia. The Waits Room is available as a digital download or as a limited edition piece of vinyl available on their current tour.