Album review: DELLA MAE – Della Mae

DELLA MAE - Della Mae

Decca [Release date 10.07.15]

There are obvious comparisons to be drawn here with the excellent Blame Sally – another multi-talented all female Americana combo, and in the case of Della Mae, featuring Celia Woodsmith on vocals and guitar, Kimber Ludiker on fiddle and vocals, Jenni Lyn Gardner on mandolin and vocals, and Courtney Hartman on guitar, banjo and vocals.

Both bands have supremely talented vocal and instrumental skills, both see the spotlight shared equally, and both major on roots-conscious songs.  But while Blame Sally stray comfortably over the mainstream divide, Della Mae have, until now, preferred to stay in the country lane.

Their last album – This World Oft Can Be (2013) – was the group’s breakthrough – a widely acclaimed, Grammy-nominated bluegrass album.  Given the success, it’s to their credit that they’ve taken a diversion with their latest release, employing Grammy award winning Jacquire King producer of Kings of Leon’s Only By The Night.

And he’s steered the band into uncharted territory.  As Celia Woodsmith observes ‘One big difference on this album is the emphasis on the groove, which is something that people maybe don’t notice consciously, but which is so important’.

Acts like Zeppelin were masters of it, and something of a forgotten art, but the way the remarkable cover of the Stones’ ‘No Expectation’ builds to a climax reminds of Percy and his chums in all their acoustic finery, with a vocal performance from Woodsmith to match.

The album sees the band stray from bluegrass into blues/gospel territory with one eye on the crossover white line.  And when they hit their stride – as on ‘No Expectation’ and ‘Rude Awakening’ – a fiddle driven blues number capped with glorious vocals and harmonies – it’s a mouth-watering ride.   ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

UK Tour Dates (Summer 2015)

Jul 19 SummerTyne Americana Festival Birtley
Jul 20 The Bullingdon – Oxford
Jul 21 The Musician – Leicester
Jul 22 Waterfront Studio – Norwich
Jul 25 Ramblin’ Man Fair – Maidstone
Jul 26 Nell’s Jazz and Blues – London
Jul 28 Manchester Academy 3 – Manchester
Jul 29 Oran Mor – Glasgow
Jul 30 The Twa Tams – Southern Fried Festival – Perth, Scotland
Jul 31 The Salutation Hotel – Southern Fried Festival – Perth
Aug 01 Perth Concert Hall – Southern Fried Festival (Dolly Parton Tribute) – Perth

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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

COLLATERAL Mr Big Shot (Roulette Media Records)
BABY HUSBAND Stop Thinking About Tomorrow (indie)
OF ALLIES Off The Map (indie)
MARISA AND THE MOTHS – Slave (indie)
CATTLE AND CANE I Wish I Knew Jesus (Like I Do)
KING VOODOO Creep (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 28 October (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Big Blue World (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 REDLINE Gods & Monsters (Escape Music)
14:00-16:00 WILDWOOD KIN (Silvertone/Sony)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)

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