5 questions with The Delta Saints’ Ben Ringel
October 18, 2012
Steamboat Springs — The Delta Saints crossed the Colorado-Kansas border for the first time Wednesday with a van full of swampy delta blues and the gospel of hard-driving Southern roots rock.
It's the band’s first trip to Colorado, and dobro player and vocalist Ben Ringel said as their altitude-induced dehydration abates, the band is settling well into the Rocky Mountains with a weeklong stint of shows ahead of them on the Front Range and mountain towns.
The band will play a free show at 10 p.m. Friday at Carl's Tavern.
With an instrumentation similar to local mountain grass band Missed the Boat — with Ringel on dobro, Dylan Fitch on guitar, Ben Azzi on drums, Greg Hommert on harmonica and David Supica on bass — The Delta Saints collectively create a distinctively raw blues rock sound and will release their first full length album "Death Letter Jubilee" in January.
Ringel took a few minutes Thursday to talk with ExploreSteamboat.com:
Explore Steamboat: You're heavily influenced by the delta blues, but is there any influence of Appalachia, any piece of the mountains in your music?
Ben Ringel: We all have a respect and a liking for kind of honest, kind of the rootsy music. A lot of delta blues kind of came from this country, mountain-type music. It all originated from these similar places. Being from Nashville, you get to hear some of that. We just recorded an album, and some of the mountain influences, the Appalachian influences, as subtle as they are, come out a little more in the sound.
ES: How did The Delta Saints get together?
BR: We all moved to Nashville for college and with everybody going to school, it kind of came as a necessity. We were all transfer students, all midway through our college careers, and no one had real friends. We met up and started playing music, it was not only a way to escape lonely Friday nights, but we eventually started playing shows and traveling around the region. Almost five years later, we've been blessed or lucky and whatever enough to travel the world and play our music.
ES: The world? How far have you gone?
BR: We've done two tours throughout Europe, and we're going back for a third next year.
It kind of surprised us. American pop culture and American media is kind of our No. 1 export worldwide. Everybody our age there spoke English, and we asked them where they learned English from, and they said MTV. It's wild. One of the things they grasp onto is blues rock like the Black Keys and Jack White's stuff. It's like a second coming. It's really cool over there.
ES: Talk about your instrumentation. It's different, isn't it?
BR: It's not something you see a lot of. We think it's great. When you first tell people, “Oh, we have a dobro and a harmonica,” they're like, "Oh you must be country or bluegrass."
But we kind of overdrive the hell out of the dobro and the harmonica, and it's more rock ‘n’ roll, I guess. I absolutely love traditional dobro, but I always lean a little bit more toward old delta blues guys. It's interesting, and it's important that you're interested in what you do.
ES: What do you hope your music does for those who are listening whether it's at a live show or a recording?
BR: One of the best things about music for me personally is it has the ability to take hold of you at any time during the day, and it's a break from reality. I hope our music does that whether it's a break to have beer and relax or hang out with friends. I hope it's a moment where you can kind of escape the world around you and kind of take a breath. That's what we try to do with our live show. Let's have some fun, play some loud music and enjoy the evening.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com