Meet The Deltaz; Brothers In Blues And In Real Life
The Deltaz are brothers John (drums, harmonica, vocals) and Ted Siegel (guitars, vocals). They’ve been mixing up heavy blues and harmony singing with a country roots vibe for about a decade, in their native Southern California home and now in the Leiper’s Fork area here in Middle Tennessee. You may have heard me play their song, “I’ve Been Rejected” on the Local Brew Hour; that was the first single from an upcoming album, the next one, “I Went Away Too Much” was just released last week. Born out of a devastating personal loss, the brothers created a mobile recording studio in an Airstream trailer. The first song they recorded there is a stunning version of George Gershwin’s American Standard, “Summertime”.
AnaLee: Welcome to Middle Tennessee, John and Ted. You’re in a really beautiful part of the state, rich with creators and a peaceful country feel. I’m truly sorry for the devastating loss of your home and studio in the 2018 Woolsey fire in Southern California. If you would, fill us in on what transpired in the aftermath that inspired you to turn an Airstream into a recording studio and move it to just outside of Nashville.The Deltaz:
Hey Ana, thanks for chatting with us. The Woolsey Fire was a devastating event in our lives. We lost a recording studio where we recorded all of our albums in the Santa Monica Mountains for years and we had to deal with the destruction of our childhood home. It was really a turning point for us where we had to reevaluate the direction of our lives. We had toured through Nashville many times in the past. We even played Kimbro’s in Franklin back in 2014. We always thought to ourselves that if there was anywhere in the world we were going to live other than California, it would be Middle Tennessee.
After the fire we immediately began writing music and we had always had an outlet to record, having our own studio in the mountains where we grew up. So, it was natural for us to want to rebuild the studio we once had. But with our future home so up in the air we had to get creative about how we would build a studio. A good friend of mine and fellow engineer in California loaned me a book on great British recording studios. There was a whole chapter in the book about “mobile recording studios”. And I was surprised by how many great British albums were recorded mobile and I was intrigued by the idea of having a mobile recording studio. I read about the Rolling Stones recording truck, but what really interested us was the Lane Mobile Studio “LMS” built by Ronnie Lane of The Faces. It was a mobile studio built in a 1970s Airstream and it was used to record Ronnie Lane, The Who and all sorts of amazing British groups. We loved the idea of building a studio in a vintage Airstream and the mobility it would give us to make anywhere we could tow, a recording studio. It took us the better part of the next year to locate a vintage Airstream, a 1966 Airstream Overlander. When we found it, it was a complete wreck. We had to gut it completely and then figure out how to build it out into the studio we wanted. We had a lot of help from the community we grew up in and it was incredibly challenging but we came out with a studio we’re really proud of.
They call the creek beds we grew up around in California, Secos. Seco means dry in Spanish. Our creek bed was regularly dry from drought. The drought brought the fire and the fire destroyed our studio of the past. So, it seemed appropriate to name the new mobile studio “The Secostream” (Say-Co-Stream). After we completed the Secostream we towed it to Idaho, Oregon, Central California and ultimately Middle Tennessee to record our new Deltaz album. It performed great as the mobile studio we designed it to be. And now it’s in operation where we record ourselves and other local artists in Leipers Fork. Check it out! www.secostream.com
AnaLee: You’ve been playing out again, couple of dates in Mississippi I noticed and I think some regular gigs at Puckett’s and Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor?
The Deltaz: Yeah, we’ve been fortunate to be gigging really regularly in Middle Tennessee since we relocated in September 2020. We’re playing Puckett’s and Kimbro’s in Franklin regularly. We’ve also been playing the showcases at The Basement and booked our first full night there for November coming up.
AnaLee: We’ve heard two singles so far from your upcoming album, the first one, “I’ve Been Rejected” had sort of an outlaw country meets blues rock vibe to me. Would you tell us a little about writing and recording this song?
The Deltaz: We wrote “I’ve Been Rejected” after a night out in SoCal line dancing and drinking. It was the first time we had been thrown out of a bar. I suppose that’s what you should expect when you slip and fall in a beer you dropped on the dance floor. We knew after that night we should at least get a song out of it, so we went home and wrote “I’ve Been Rejected”. We recorded it with The Secostream Mobile Studio in Templeton, CA in an old wine vineyard house on the Ventuex Vineyard property.
AnaLee: You just released another track, “I Went Away Too Much” is out now, hear it via the link below. Can you share any details at this point about your new album?
The Deltaz: We’re really excited about the new album. The pandemic allowed us this opportunity to stay home and write music in a way that we hadn’t had the opportunity to for many years, since we normally tour 6 months out of every year. The new album will feature 11 new songs, all sorts of songwriting themes, love, greed, change, resilience and destruction by forest fire. There will be one instrumental track called “Drumonica” featuring John’s unique drum and simultaneous harmonica playing. The album was recorded entirely with The Secostream Mobile Studio.
AnaLee: Holy cow your version of “Summertime” is just gorgeous. I love the two of you singing together and everything about it. Tell us about taking such a popular song that’s been recorded so many times and really making it your own.
The Deltaz: Summertime has always been such a special tune for us. Our great Aunt was a piano player that played for silent movies decades ago. Our Mother inherited a bunch of her sheet music when she died. All of her old sheet music sat inside the piano bench of the family piano we grew up around. When we were kids, we would pull out sheet music from the bench and try to play through it. One of the pieces of sheet music in the bench was an original print of Summertime from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”. We use to play through it when we were teenagers and it was always a piece of music that just resonated. It's a ballad of hardship and resilience. We always throw new covers in the set when we’re on long tours to spice things up and when we went to play Summertime it was just in us. It wasn’t something we really had to spend a lot of time learning because it was a song we had grown up around. The harmonies took some time to arrange but they came naturally to us. We recorded it one week in the middle of the summer in California entirely inside The Secostream. It was over 100 degrees in California the whole time we were recording so we really felt the vibes of Summertime! We’re so happy you like it Ana, I hope we get to sing it for you in person sometime soon.
The Deltaz, “Summertime”
The Deltaz, “I’ve Been Rejected”
The Deltaz, “I Went Away Too Much”