Della Ray go their own way in first EPBy Chandler Padgett | 02/23/2016 6:49pm
Two guitars, two voices—that’s all Tuscaloosa band Della Ray needs to make their music. Composed of married couple Natalie and Adam Morrow, Della Ray is an indie folk band stripped down to the essentials. Their eponymous EP was released January 2014.
With Fleet Foxes-like vocal harmonies and guitar rhythms that complement one another, the first track, “Numb”, exemplifies the couple's connection. With some of the wistfulness that Bon Iver specializes in, they sing “I am lonely when I close my eyes so won't you come, won't you come and stay with me?”
“Don’t Leave Me Here” takes a sadder turn, with Della Ray singing “forgotten days in the summer we learned to waste…a stack of letters, but they all burned the same”. The most unique track on the EP, it departs from the folk tone of the other songs and almost sounds like an acoustic version of a grunge tune. The two also show off their guitar prowess in a few instrumental stretches.
The guitar in “Shotgun” reaches into blues territory with its growling, deep strums. However, the duo’s vocals maintain perfect harmony as they tell the story of a mysterious uncle and his gun—“blood trails left on the leaves, growing cold/ shallow holes where the cracks are starting to show.” Della Ray’s southern roots get unearthed in this brooding tune.
The band sings of another shotgun-toting man in “Whistle”, the fourth track. Driven by strong guitar melody, the couple retains their harmony as the story takes a dark turn: “notches on the barrel/ come to file another in/ catch him where he's standing/ never another scratch again”.
Although all of Della Ray’s lyrics possess a sort of poetic beauty, “Saint John” has the most. Opening with a hopeful guitar melody, the couple sounds almost ethereal in soothing harmony. The subject matter, however, becomes confusing as they sing “Saint John the divine has his arms around me” early on, but end with the haunting “deep into the river that could swallow me whole find darkness at the bottom and no one would ever know.”
The EP picks up as it closes with “Illusion”. For the first time on the record, they stray from their calm harmony as Adam and Natalie powerfully sing of doubt—“I am inside some greater dream I wait my turn, when will it come for me?” Della Ray ends the poignant EP with a rustic guitar tune.
The EP can be found here: https://dellaray.bandcamp.com/