Cryin' on the Vine smooth end-of-summer soundrack
The days are getting cooler in the High Country, a perfect time for a drive in the mountain countryside or perhaps the parkway. The Deluge's Cryin' on the Vine is an excellent end-of-summer soundtrack for the ride.
The Deluge formed in 2008 in the North Carolina Piedmont. In their debut effort, the six-piece group shows no evidence of freshman musicianship. Cryin' on the Vine is true Carolina soul.
The Deluge play an updated version of the mountain-style music so familiar to the state. Though there's a mandolin in the band, don't expect a bluegrass or country album. Listening to Cryin' on the Vine is mellow like sweet southern tea, a bluesy album with an extra squeeze of Americana lemon spark. Vine is approachable material for fans of country music to jam bands to southern rock.
The Deluge is comparable to country music's biggest act at the moment, the Zac Brown Band, in that they benefit from a musical hybrid approachable to fans of differing styles. Also like ZBB, The Deluge employ a rich vocal harmony, with most of the members providing background to the lead often. Despite the similarities, The Deluge surpass the vocals and musicianship of ZBB by miles. The Deluge are much more interesting.
Brandon Knox's voice is a meeting of John Popper of Blues Traveler and Eddie Vedder. He has incredible range, going from the lowest of lows to sweet-as-candy highs. Knox is the singer, but he's not always the main man in the show. While bass, guitar, drum and mandolin meld beautifully on the Vine, the musicians step up for numerous opportunities at the forefront of the presentation. Their playing is just as expressive as the vocals and lyrics. Additional musical color is added to Vine, with The Deluge bringing in other instruments as they see necessary, including banjo, organ and harmonica among others.
The cuts on Vine range from sing-a-longs to laid-back jams to ballads. Aside from exceptional singing and musicianship, the vivid lyricism put forth by The Deluge make them worth listening.
One of album's the best songs, the Depression-era ballad "Union" speaks of the Carolina hills and Franklin's New Deal. The Deluge do the seemingly impossible with this song, creating a nostalgic view for a time as dim as the Depression.
Knox sings "Last September" with such conviction and incredible imagery, leaving the impression it could only be about his own broken relationship. The band balances out dark subject manner with upbeat and sunnier songs, like the silly "Hits Keep Comin.'"
Other stand-out songs include "Ridin' with the Devil," with a speed and chorus that would make it a perfect fit for Sunday-morning gospel hour. "Inside Pocket" exemplifies the variety of influences The Deluge draw from, containing sounds of "Sexy Sadie" and "Sweet Melissa."
Cryin' on the Vine is an ideal example of a tasteful mixing of styles. This vigorous album will appeal to any person who enjoys blues, bluegrass, rock & roll or country. Whether driving to a favorite vacation spot, cooking out or just kicking back, The Deluge's Cryin' on the Vine will make an excellent background for whatever is to be done over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.
The Deluge is online at TheDelugeMusic.com. The group will perform at Canyons in Blowing Rock on Friday, Sept. 3.