Delta Rae, a Durham, N.C.-based six-member band, is bringing its eclectic country sound to Harlow’s on July 30. Half of the group’s members are siblings – Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes. They are joined by singer Liz Hopkins, bassist Grant Emerson and drummer Mike McKee. Singer-songwriter Ian Hölljes, 32, the oldest of the three siblings, talks about the group’s family dynamic and the recently released EP “A Long and Happy Life.”
Q: What is it like to have a successful band with your family?
A: “My brother and I have been writing music together since we were 10 and 12 years old. It’s always been a dream of ours to make music together professionally, and so I feel really lucky to be doing it. When my brother and I graduated from college, we were figuring out what we wanted to do. We ended up reaching out to our two favorite singers in the world: Liz (Hopkins) and Britt (Holljes). … I feel really lucky to be making music with people that I love, and I think it enhances the creativity and passion we bring to our art.”
Q: You and your brother graduated from Duke. How did you decide to start a band?
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A: “We always knew that this was what we wanted to do. At Duke, we had a college band on campus, and we got a little well known there, but we decided that this was our path. We approached it with the same determination and tried to bring intelligence and a care to it that was in some ways helped along by being serious students and hopefully thoughtful people. We loved our time at Duke, and I think it steeped us in Southern writing and Southern traditions, so that’s been great for being a great country band.”
Q: Who inspires you musically?
A: “We grew up with our parents’ record collection that was incredibly inspiring to us – the records of Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles and Peter, Paul and Mary, Billy Joel, John Denver – a lot of the ’60s and ’70s singer-songwriters and troubadours. These days, there’s this subcurrent within country that I think of as being characterized by Maren Morris, the Brothers Osborne, Cam, Eric Church, Asher Monroe. Those folks are really inspirational to us. I see a through-line between the great songwriters of the ’60s and ’70s to today’s country music, and we’re trying to be part of that legacy.”
Q: How is this EP different from your previous work?
A. “We feel like this is a real representation of the direction we’re going in, and the title track, “A Long and Happy Life,” which was kind of our introduction to country radio, was inspired by my favorite Southern writers, so I wove in the lyrics to four of my favorite book titles: “The Water is Wide” and “The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy, “Lie Down in Darkness” by William Siren, and “A Long and Happy Life” by one of my mentors, Reynolds Price. It’s always been our goal to do Southern storytelling and four-part harmony, and I think that’s been where we came home to on this EP.”
Where: Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub, 2708 J St.
When: Sunday, July 30
Doors open: 6:30 Show: 7:30
Tickets: $20, Harlows.com