DELTA The Life And Times Of Jim Vallie And Sweet Rosalie The Junk Label (2007)
Hailing from the Black Country, Delta are Andrew Grainger and Naomi Coleman who perform either as an acoustic duo or as a 5 piece band, and their debut album - put together over the last 2 years - is something of a gem.
If you yearn for those glorious singer songwriter years of the late sixties - Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y, Paul Simon and the likes, then look no further. Produced by Mike Exeter (Black Sabbath, The Specials, UB40, Jeff Beck) and engineered by Russell Tite (The Kooks, Rooster) The Life And Times Of Jim Vallie And Sweet Rosalie is a beautifully constructed piece of work - great songs, great delivery and an uncluttered production that allows the material space to breathe.
While they've supported the likes of The Coral, I Am Kloot, Chas And Dave and The Stands, Delta's roots lie in the classic singer-songwriter genre, with shaded layers of alt-country, pop and indie. But it's the strength of the song writing and Naomi's vocals that make Delta stand out from the pack.
With hints of Joni Mitchell, Annie Lennox (but with none of the harshness), Janis Joplin, Siobhan Maher (River City People) and Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Naomi's vocals are never short of drop-dead gorgeous. And they complement perfectly Grainger's songs.
And there's some great tracks - just take a listen to 'Ten Years In Harlem', 'The Witch' (surely a contender for one of the best songs of the year), or the hidden track 'Water Into Wine' and you'll be hooked.
'The Life And Times Of Jim Vallie And Sweet Rosalie' may be a relatively short piece of work - running out at 34 minutes - but it's almost perfectly formed.