Carry the Fire (Deluxe Version)
North Carolina's Delta Rae was signed to its label by Seymour Stein, who also signed The Ramones, Talking Heads, The Pretenders, Madonna, and The Smiths and who was paid tribute with a song by Belle & Sebastian bearing his name. Such high regard raises the ante for this sextet, featuring siblings Brittany, Ian, and Eric Holljes and three nonrelated members. The band's debut album is a mix of Americana influences, with a definite gospel shade projecting from the female vocals of "Holding On to Good" and the collective voices on "Bottom of the River." Harmonies are an integral aspect of the group's appeal, and the vocal ensemble of "Country House" and the spirited "Morning Comes" bear this out. The exquisite drama of "Forgive the Children We Once Were" reels back the band's sound to a subtler arrangement of piano and strings before building to cathartic heights. "Unlike Any Other" similarly works with the quieter end of the spectrum for outsized results. The album's deluxe edition features acoustic versions of "Morning Comes" and the nonalbum track "New Days."