'Brother'-ly love: Blues-folk duo The Deltaz celebrate sibling bonds on new album
By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
On the title track to their latest album, Ted and John Siegel — known collectively as The Deltaz — try something new: singing in harmony for the entire song.
But working harmoniously together is nothing new to the California duo, who'll return to Amarillo for a 10 p.m. Saturday show at Leftwoods, 2511 S.W. Sixth Ave.; cover charge is $6.
"It's an equal partnership," said John Siegel, 24, who plays drums and harmonica. "There's definitely the dynamic of him being the older brother and having more of a, I guess, a leadership role, but when it comes down to it, we're equal, and if I disagree with him, I will tell him."
"Brothers are brothers," Ted Siegel, 27, agreed. "You're always going to have little arguments. I can't speak for John, but the more we've toured, the more we understand how the other lives and acts. It becomes easier the longer you go about it."
The Siegel brothers have been going about it for about 10 years, since they were still in high school, drawing inspiration from old blues masters as well as more contemporary alt-country acts.
They've been working on Like Your Brother, their second full-length album after 2013's This Old Place, since 2014, mostly working off and on in a home studio, then buckling down with producer Tommy Hilton to get the album out this summer.
"That was probably our biggest motivator — having it available at shows," Ted Siegel said.
"Like Your Brother" (live), The Deltaz
The title track alludes not only to the Siegels' relationship, but also to occasional tourmates and fellow California musicians the Zmed Brothers, who played in Amarillo with the Deltaz on their last tour in the spring, as well as more frequently back home.
"We got to observe another set of brothers going through what we go through — grappling with touring with each other, how you deal with and how you also appreciate being on the road with your sibling," Ted Siegel said.
"(The song) is about ... how it's difficult but essential," he continued. "I think that's something we found in the Zmed Brothers' work — no matter how difficult the relationship with your brother is at times, it was something that our musical lives couldn't exist or couldn't exist to the extent that they do without."
Other songs on the album — including "BB Guns and Dirt Bikes," written by Jake Smith, a/k/a The White Buffalo — touch on the brotherly theme, but Ted Siegel said he likes to be vague on any other themes to let the listener decide.
"You take something really personal for you — sometimes it's abstract, sometimes it's concrete — and you try to express it," he said. "Then you put it out in the world, and sometimes people will like it, sometimes not so much, but sometimes people will have this incredibly different interpretation of it."
Like perhaps the, shall we say, carnal impact of the song "Wild Mustangs," which almost didn't make the album. Good thing it did, because there's a couple out there that just loves that song.
"They told me that they have sex to that song all the time," Ted Siegel said. "I thought that was so funny, that there's a ritual involved and that they told me about it.
"I guess a lot of people would be shocked, but I was flattered that they use our music as the soundtrack to their lives."