They went to a restaurant for dinner expecting to do just that. But a foursome of buskers took over the lobby piano and were so good that Burger couldn’t ignore them. Those buskers were the core of what would become Delta Rae.
Within months, the singers found a drummer and bassist, recorded an EP and took their act to larger markets away from their Durham, N.C., base and eventually landed in legendary exec Seymour Stein’s Sire Records office. He was sold, too.
With four-part harmonies enhanced by DNA – siblings Ian, Eric and Brittany Hölljes and longtime friend Elizabeth Hopkins – Delta Rae wowed not just Burger but Stein, who quickly signed the six-piece. The band is rounded out by bassist Grant Emerson and drummer Mike McKee.
“[Sire] started developing them over the course of the last year and building a fan base,” Burger told Pollstar. “They released their debut and the rest is history. It’s been one of those slow, steady rises, but they’ve got the kind of incredible live show that wins fans over one by one. There’s no denying this band will one day sell out arenas.”
On the strength of that live show, and “If I Loved You,” their single with an assist from Lindsey Buckingham, the band made a strong showing at clubs and on the summer festival circuit.
“They had many offers over the summer to support tours but they had such great festival opportunities like Bonnaroo, Hangout, Voodoo, ACL, Bumbershoot, Firefly, Bunbury and even the ones they couldn’t do, like Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, all came to the table and wanted the band. It’s a testament to them of how great they are to receive these offers all summer long,” Burger explained.
“What’s so special about this band is even if they are in a tiny environment, or a seated 3,000-seat theatre or a giant festival with 50,000 people, the whole crowd is up and loving them,” Burger said. “It was fate that they came to sing in front of me, accidentally. It really feels like fate was shining down that day, saying you have to see this band. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Delta Rae is booked through the end of the year but, with a new record and single expected to drop in January, is starting to put together a large club/ballroom tour to begin in March and hit the festivals again in 2014.