It’s always nice to be in the company of friends and family, and Tuesday night’s show at the Waiting Room felt just like that. An intimate crowd gathered to see Delta Rae and Frances Cone, two folk pop bands with family connections.
Delta Rae from Durham, North Carolina features three siblings Ian Hölljes (vocals and guitar), Eric Hölljes (vocals, guitar, keys) and Brittany Hölljes (vocals). Frances Cone from Nashville features Christina Cone (guitar, vocals, keys) and Andrew Doherty (guitar, vocals) who are to be wed in early 2020. So between the two bands (who are good friends by the way) and the enthusiastic crowd it was an awesome night of uplifting music that felt like home.
I saw Frances Cone for the first time at the Ralston Side Room last summer and I fell in love immediately. Their folk-pop melodies washed over the crowd and had me in a trance. I got to hang out with Andy and Christina after the show and they were super cool cats. I started following them on social and was so pumped when I saw they were coming through Omaha again.
As for Delta Rae, I hadn’t previously heard their music, but I talked to a lot of fans before the show and many had seen the band multiple times. I was excited to see what they had in store after Frances Cone’s set.
Frances Cone was up first. Andy and Christina stepped on stage and proceeded to quietly slay the room with angelic vocals and mesmerizing melodies. It’s hard to put Frances Cone in one particular category, but I would say it’s closest to folky dream pop. Their bright guitars, layered synths, and duet harmonies are well, dreamy.
The duo are touring in support of their latest album Late Riser so I got to hear a few new songs since their last show including a solo performance from Christina on “Easy Love.”
As Christina played Andy took a knee beside her and didn’t break his loving gaze until the song was over. It almost brought a tear to my eye to witness such a powerful moment of musical joy. I’m so happy I found this band. After the set there was a group of girls who were excitedly chatting. I approached one of them and she said “Oh my gosh, they slapped so hard,” which I guess is youth speak for “I dig it.”
I met up with Andy and Christina later on and mentioned that I had been covering a lot of rock and metal as of late. While rock and metal will always be my first love, it’s nice to take a break from the heavy and Frances Cone’s warm tones were just what I needed to lift my soul.
Speaking of uplifting music, the headliner Delta Rae came prepared to shine! I was going in completely fresh so I had no idea what I was going to get. I assumed their music was a mix of country and pop, but what I got was so much more. With rocking guitars, soulful keys, and groovy bass Delta Rae pumped out an auditory buffet of musical styles.
With a full band of electric and acoustic guitars, bass, a full size piano (like not a plug in Casio), and even a trash can with chains, Delta Rae packed a punch. You really can’t put Delta Rae in neatly wrapped box. There were Fleetwood Mac style love songs, dark tales of lovers crossed, and upbeat songs of female empowerment. I like that they straddle between accessible folk-pop and stick-to-your-guns outlaw country.
In addition to playing some killer tunes, Delta Rae has a lot of interaction with the crowd and addressed several items during their set. First, they shouted out a local teacher in the crowd and said they give tickets to nurses and teachers at every show they play. Much respect. How cool is that? If you know a nurse or teacher that lives in a city on Delta Rae’s tour you can hook them up with tickets by visiting the band’s website.
Next, Delta Rae spoke about breaking free from their record label Big Machine and the process of funding their next album which will be released in March, via kickstarter. They said it was one of the highest funded independent albums in kickstarter history. I did some digging and the coincidence of how their forthcoming album received so much support is really interesting. I won’t get into all the details, but Taylor Swift accidentally played a big part. You can read more about it here.
Lastly, Delta Rae discussed the racism and political divide our county has seen over the last few years. I enjoy it when artists bring attention to social issues without giving their own personal opinion. There was no mention of Trump or Republican or Democrat, just a plea for peace and for everyone to unite as a community of brothers and sisters. Again, much respect. This sentiment was met with plenty of cheers. Delta Rae continued to give the crowd’s dancing shoes a work out with more country-fried ditties.
Delta Rae’s website displays a bold header with “The Great-American-Southern-Gothic-Male-Female-Soul-Folk-Pop-Country-Family-Band.” I don’t think I could have said it better myself.
Delta Rae’s “Take Me There” tour continues through November. The band also has a pair of hometown shows at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, North Carolina. If you get the chance, I would highly recommend checking them out. You can find all the details HERE.
A big thanks to my buddies Andy and Christina in Frances Cone for the photo access.
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