Extra Happy

Chatting with the Delta Spirit

Extra Happy

2008 was a whirlwind for California’s Delta Spirit. The punky folk quintet from San Diego toured with Dr. Dog and Cold War Kids, had their self-released album Ode to Sunshine remastered and reissued by Rounder Records, and were invited to play festivals like Sasquatch, Noise Pop, and Austin City Limits. Now they’re on their first headlining tour, which stops at Emo’s Saturday.

Delta Spirit’s bass player Jon Jameson seemed extra happy when I spoke to him last week. Maybe it was because their shows on the East Coast had sold out; maybe it was because he had just had a good night’s sleep.

“We’ve been touring the last two years,” Jameson explained. “Probably eight months out of the year and then towards the end of last year, we thought 2009 was going to be easy. You know, do a little touring, then write and make a record. But it’s been non-stop touring. We did the Nada Surf tour, then went to Europe for a couple of weeks, then we were home for one and a half days and took off for this tour which is 29 shows in 30 days. Then we’re home for a week, go to South by Southwest, then home for a couple of days, then to Europe for a two and half weeks. It’s insane. My back and my knees are starting to go out. This is our first real headlining tour and the fact that all the shows have lots of people at them and some of them are sold out is pretty sweet for us.”

Ode to Sunshine was originally released in 2007, so you might think there would be some new songs by now and Jameson agreed. “We have like five or so new songs that we’ve been working in and out of the set. There’s ideas that haven’t been fully formed yet and it’s a different process than what we’ve been used to.”

Who’s the guy on the cover of Ode? That’s keyboard player Kelly Winrich’s uncle. “Dr. Thomas Payne,” Jameson relates, “Dean of Agriculture at the University of Missouri. We always stay with him when we go out there and being a Dean he knows how to entertain people really well. For the Europe release, we had the idea of using all our dads, so my dad made the cover. Just old crazy pictures of my dad. We like having family portraits distributed worldwide, I guess.”

In other news, Saturday, Feb. 28 is the last day for the cheap advance tickets for this year’s Old Settler’s Music Festival. With Robert Earl Keen, Fred Eaglesmith, the Bodeans, Beausoleil, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Dave Alvin, and too many more to mention, this is Old Settler’s strongest lineup in years. It’s scheduled for April 16-19 out near the Salt Lick in Dripping Springs.

I also wanted to send get well wishes to two of my favorite people in the world: Buddy Miller and the Drive-by Truckers’ Patterson Hood. Miller, on tour with Emmylou Harris, Patty Griffin, and Shawn Colvin as Three Girls and Their Buddy, underwent bypass surgery after a show in Baltimore last Thursday. According to New West, his record label, he’s recovering and is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Hood experienced dizziness on stage in Charleston, S.C., last Thursday as well, and was forced to sit during the show. It turns out that he had walking pneumonia and while the Truckers soldiered on without him the next two nights in Washington, D.C., the rest of the band’s February dates have been either canceled or rescheduled. Get well soon, ya bastards!

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Delta Spirit, Old Settler's Music Festival

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