Delta Rae
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Delta Rae

Durham, North Carolina, United States | MAJOR

Durham, North Carolina, United States | MAJOR
Band Americana Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Live: Delta Rae"

Expectations: The last time I saw Delta Rae live, I had mixed feelings about the band. I thought that they were definitely a very talented bunch, but they were a bit too cheery for me. Their music might have been a little bit too Southern and kind for me, too. Since then, though, I have heard some of their new releases and have been incredibly impressed with the direction they’ve gone in.

Concert: Despite Hurricane Irene’s upcoming trip to the neighborhood, a large crowd made the trek to Casbah to see local band Delta Rae perform. It always impresses me to see the multiple demographic groups that Delta Rae can pull together for a show – the audience ranged from freshmen college students to a flock of post-grads and all the way up to retired folk who chose to spend an evening with their spouses in the presence of some ground-rattling music from Delta Rae.

Delta Rae includes four band members – the front four, Eric Holljes, Ian Holljes, Brittany Holljes, and Liz Hopkins, are all singers, while the back two, Mike McKee and Grant Emerson, provide support on the bass and the drums. They started off the night with an opening song that set the stage for how the rest of the night would continue – all four singers grouped together at the front of the stage and each sang a solo section of the song, as if they were going down the line showing off their incredibly powerful voices and beautiful harmonizing skills.

Throughout the night, Delta Rae played a large collection of songs. It seems to me as if they’ve grown into themselves a bit. Perhaps they once were striving to draw too grandiose of a picture, but if so, they have figured out how to fill those shoes with their wider range of songs, ability to get the crowd clapping, swaying, and dancing, and more energetic movements and actions on stage. One highlight of the night came when they performed their original Gospel song called “Bottom of the River,” during which they proved that despite their majority fair-skinned appearance, they embody the soul, power, and heart of a full choral group with a sound that can fill an entire church with the echoes of the Gospel. The acapella tune and the beautiful foot stomping and hand clapping made it feel as though Casbah itself had been transformed into a house of worship.

The band played a new song called “Surrounded,” which is repurposed from brothers Ian and Eric’s old band, Running Lights, and is a personal favorite of mine. They also played “Morning Comes,” “If I Loved You,” “Country House,” “Right Before My Eyes,” “Memphis,” “Holding on to Good,” “Rain Down On Me,” “Darling If,” among others. They created a very personal atmosphere by introducing the majority of their songs with the story behind the song or what inspired the lyrics.

I noticed this evening that Delta Rae has found a perfect algorithm to songwriting. Between gripping lyrics to grand choruses, acoustic bridges, solo vocal sections, intricate piano overtones, heavy electric guitar sections, harmonies, foot stomps, hand claps…they’ve got a whole cannon of tricks and talents, and they somehow manage to blend all of these styles together to create beautiful songs that represent what music was created to be: catchy, heartfelt, and emotional. Add to that the raw power and emotion in their live show and you’ve got a band that has just nailed the equation for a successful performance.

Delta Rae proved something to me tonight that until now I wasn’t sure they had in them. They showed me that they are some of the better songwriters I’ve seen in my time, and that they will leave a lasting mark on the music of our generation with their ability to blend historic Southern soul and gospel music with a modern twist of folk, pop, indie rock, and even some heavier rock influences. I learned tonight that Delta Rae is more than just a band; it’s a movement.

Concert Afterglow: This was an incredibly entertaining show. I’ll have “Darling If” stuck in my head for days, and I am not upset about it. I’m absolutely blown away by the strides this band has made since the last time I saw them live, and I’ll be itching to see them again live on a bigger stage soon.

Recommendation: I will go ahead and say that it wont be long before Delta Rae will be playing on very large stages in front of enormous audiences. No doubt about it, they’ll turn that into a beautiful act, but I urge you to go see them in a small setting while you can. It’s truly a wonderful and intimate experience. - Sunset In The Rearview - Blog

"Matthew Mayfield and Delta Rae"

As the sun set over the hills of Middle Tennessee Friday evening, Matthew Mayfield arrived at his gig at 12th & Porter with the swagger of a young musician on the rise. At 27 years old, the Birmingham native is on the cusp of something grand.

He's gone off on his own, recorded an impressive full-length album and done it all his own way. The result is something genuine and true. Mayfield seems comfortable in his outlaw skin, and it certainly showed during a performance before a sold-out crowd of adoring fans Friday night.

Opening the evening in support of Mayfield were Delta Rae, a burgeoning young band from the forests of Durham, North Carolina. Combining elements of pop, rock ‘n’ roll and a gorgeous Southern folk, Delta Rae captivated the audience with pure four-part harmonies and a solid live set that included a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain.”

Delta Rae are a six-member outfit, three of whom are siblings. The family dynamic produces a synchronicity and precision in their performance that communicates the feeling of something deeper than the usual bond shared among musicians. Each member of this band can sing, and the result is a certain majesty.

Highlights of their set included a haunting and beautiful tune, "Bottom of the River," and the touching “Country House.”

“Bottom of the River" invokes a gothic tale of redemption and spotlights the singing performance of Brittany Hölljes, a platinum haired siren with vocal chords that could move mountains.

“Country House” stands as an elegy to the Hölljes’ grandfather and once again features crystalline harmonies in praise of a man now lost to the sands of time. Both songs demonstrate the band's deeply rooted sense of pride and place.

Delta Rae have recently spent time opening for bands like Hanson, Rooney and Edwin McCain and are beginning to sell out shows as headliners in their own right. Sincerity and energy emanate from their performance, and I expect nothing but big things from this band in the future.

By the time Mayfield took the stage, the audience was poised and ready for a terrific performance from an artist on the cusp of something big. There is muscularity and triumph in Mayfield’s songwriting, and it was on full display as he launched into a guitar-driven set that included the hit single “Now You’re Free,” the song “Man-Made Machines,” and a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

Mayfield’s engaging personality and his smoky baritone set the crowd aflame as audience members sang along to his radio friendly brand of heartbreak and hope. Mayfield is touching on something that reaches beyond the normal scope of traditional songwriting. Each song is like a tiny anthem expressing a more universal desire. Mayfield manages to do all of this while coming across as someone you’d like to sit down with over a beer.

Mayfield’s set was mainly up-tempo and featured extended guitar work from his band. “Man-Made Machines” included soaring guitars and a long jam session that rocked like a freight train.

There is no denying that Mayfield’s songs have a cinematic quality and easily lend themselves to the soundtracks of major television successes like Grey’s Anatomy. It’s one part rock ‘n’ roll and one part world-weary lament found at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniels. However, it’s not all tears and disarray. In the end, Mayfield’s songs seem to contain a faith that all will be restored.

As his gorgeous set drew to a close, Mayfield’s rendition of Coldplay’s “Fix You” brought a somber tone to the amber-lit crowd at 12th and Porter. Perhaps the crowd realized they had just witnessed a show from a man elegantly moving forward in his career, growing as his audience grows, getting older, making mistakes and transforming every bit of it into art. - Brite Revolution

"Live Review: Delta Rae"

Once again, The Mint brought Los Angeles great music this past weekend. Delta Rae, a soulful country band from North Carolina, delivered a strong performance on Friday night and performed a few songs off their recent debut EP, Delta Rae. The album speaks to a young audience and addresses themes including metamorphosis, heartbreak and the importance of staying grounded.

It was hard not to notice the three blondes that resembled one another on stage. Perhaps it was because three of the five band members just so happened to be related. Keyboardist and guitarist, Eric Holljes, opened the set with “Morning Comes.” The song showcased his effortless piano skills and touched on finding hope in life’s darkness.

It seemed as though all eyes were fixated on the two ladies center stage. Brittany Holljes and Elizabeth Hopkins delivered beautiful harmonies and added percussion to each song. Hopkins’ soft, husky voice blended perfectly with Eric Holljes during their duet, “Deliver.” Brittany Holljes’ angelic presence quickly vanished when she belted “Fire,” the strongest performance of the night.

Midway through the performance, the band surprised everyone by leaving the stage and singing side-by-side with the audience. “We’re breaking the fourth wall,” said Brittany Holljes. The group didn’t need microphones in order to showcase their incredible vocal range. Guitarists and brothers, Eric and Ian Holljes, kept the crowd moving with their acoustic strumming.

Delta Rae’s music is relatable because they write about topics that affect everyone, and they left the Mint’s crowd wanting more. The band didn’t come back on stage for an encore, rather they left the crowd wondering,, “Where can I buy their album and when can I see them again?” - Performer Magazine

"Delta Rae’s passion shines in debut"

June 10, 2010

Summer has officially rolled in, and along for the ride is Durham’s Delta Rae.

Fresh out of the Bull City with a sound that recalls gospel choirs and big-vintage pop, Delta Rae welcomes summertime with soulful sounds that ring of timeless pop greats.

Delta Rae is comprised of the three Holljes siblings and family friend, Liz Hopkins.

The band’s self-titled debut is as diverse as the influences it recalls, such as Brandi Carlile, Fleetwood Mac and James Taylor.

The band’s five-song debut is ever-changing, whether through heart-felt hand-clapping, soaring harmonies or soft and sensitive lyrics.

In “Morning Comes,” singer/songwriter Eric Holljes launches into a powerful vocal performance.

Whether it is the soulful backing harmonies or the impassioned piano, the originality and devotion that influences this song is evident.

Throughout the album, Eric and brother Ian demonstrate their strong ability to write songs with lyrics fueled by passion and emotion.

They tell honest tales recounting relationships and love lost.

As a quartet, they share the musical duties, since each of the four members is considered a lead vocalist.

What results is an album that illuminates the individuals of the band, whose talented, synchronized voices combine seamlessly in each song.

The album’s closer “Holding On To Good,” begins with delicate piano, as songbird Brittany Holljes shines with her soulfully sweet vocals.

With lyrics like “Yes, I still remember, but I am trying to begin/ I met a new love, and I’m growing into him,” Holljes pours her heart and soul into a final showcase of passion that ultimately leaves the listener anticipating more.

While the band is still fresh-faced, the wise-beyond-their-years authenticity that the group exudes distinguishes the band from other pop acts.

The quartet’s ability to revive the sounds of the past while still adding its own flavor is a welcome change from generic John Mayer pop.

Delta Rae’s new soul is tinged with a vintage style that at times may be a little too obvious.

But this reliance on past influences leads to a refreshing modern revival.

Often, a heavy reliance on an established style of music can yield less than successful results, but when timed correctly, it can be rewarding.

For Delta Rae, the timing was just right.

There is something to be said about a deep songwriting authenticity, and in this band’s case, they’ve got nothing but soul.

Delta Rae
Delta Rae
Dive Verdict: 4/5 stars - The Daily Tar Heel

"Delta Rae Live on The State of Things"

Durham-based band Delta Rae utilizes simple instrumentation and soulful harmonies to create a sound that the members call “gospel pop.” In their short existence, they have crafted an eclectic catalog of songs that showcase influences ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Coldplay. With a successful self-titled EP of Southern-tinged pop songs, and sold-out shows on both coasts behind them, they start out this year with their “Graet Mondays” series, releasing free new music on their website every week. Host Frank Stasio talks to members of the band about their songwriting and history and gets treated to a live performance in the studio. - WUNC


Our most popular podcast right now is the story of a son who tracked down his father's claim that he wrote the Beatle's song, Lady Madonna. After that story aired, we asked listeners if they had a curious connection to a song. Today, two stories. Ian Holljes of the band Delta Rae on the song he co-wrote, "Ooh Caroline." And Lori Nowlen shares her special connection to Eartha Kitt's "I Wanna Be Evil" - NPR - The Story with Dick Gordon

"Winning Artists Open For HANSON, Hang Out With The Brothers"

North Carolina natives Delta Rae drove 11 hours from New York to Asheville, NC to play their opening slot at the Orange Peel. Little did they know, HANSON would be interviewing THEM upon arrival. The band said, “We were lucky enough to do a live interview with HANSON right before the show, and have gotten a lot of great attention from that. Part of the interview is performing a few acoustic songs for the Hanson bros, after which Isaac Hanson generously said, ‘Wow, I think we should be opening for them.’ Couldn’t have been nicer guys.” -

"Delta Rae's self-titled debut"

Clocking in at just 20 minutes, the self-titled debut of Durham's Delta Rae is a folk-inclined power pop EP—sincere, mellow, sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Sibling trio Ian, Eric and Brittany Hölljes and childhood chum Elizabeth Hopkins unite big voices with addictive melodies for mostly charming results. Bouncing between blue-eyed soul, raucous gospel and earnest singer/ songwriter fare, the record's stuffed with spirited piano, dulcet guitar, charging drums and vocal harmonies. Standout tracks "Ooh Caroline" and "In the Morning" deliver on their potential with melodies you'll hum for hours. - Independent Weekly

"Sunset in the Rearview - June 9, 2010"

Eric Holljes, who was the co-songwriter, beside Mike Posner, for “Cooler Than Me,” which is now hitting radios nationwide, is a multitalented man! Not only did he form one third of “Mike Posner and the Brain Trust,” he also has been in bands, does solo work, and does songwriting for other hit pop artists. Currently, what seems to be his main project is his 6-man band by the name of Delta Rae. One half of this band consists of Holljes offspring, and it blows my mind that each one of them is so musically talented.

I went to their Debut EP Release party on Monday evening and decided to write a formal review of it right here on Sunset. Now, one might think that I am biased because Eric is a friend of mine, but I myself have given Eric some harsh criticism on some of his work, and particularly his work with Delta Rae. But what I saw on Monday night was far different from what I heard when the band was just beginning. (However, I am still going to try to be as honest of a critic as possible, with the main intent being to help Delta Rae move forward in certain areas.)

This piece here, “Morning Comes,” was not only the opener of the show but it is also the opener on the EP. And if you ask me, they couldn’t have made a better decision. This piece is, in my opinion, their strongest and the most catchy. Right as they started playing, hands and feet scattered around the crowd started clapping to the clap-along beats that begin right around the 0:25 mark and repeat twice throughout the song. Talk about a hook! The second time the clap came around, the whole bar chimed in. And now, after listening to the song over and over again in my car to and from work, I feel I might be clapping in my sleep. Wonderful song, and I have little doubt that it’s as great as any hit folk song out there right now. I’m not going to go through every song on the EP in detail, but I will tell you this: my favorites are “Morning Comes,” “Darlin’ If,” and “Holding On To Good.” I believe the band is on the path to success, but there are a few areas that I would change up a bit if I were them, and here’s what they are:

1. It’s a great quality and showcase of talent to have 4 of the 6 band members blessed with incredible pipes, but my concern with having a different main singer on every song but one, in the long run, is that the music will not be very recognizable as Delta Rae material. If I had to choose one main singer, I would choose Eric. I think he has the strongest voice of them all. I think Ian may have the weakest voice (he sings “Young and Pretty”), but keep in mind this is comparative. If I could ever be given the power of Ian’s voice, I would never stop singing. Between the two girls, it’s hard to say whose voice is better. Brittany (sings “Holding On To Good”) has some super soul in her voice, but I think Elizabeth has a bit more of an easy-listening voice on the softer vocals. Either way, I would pick one dominant singer when we’re talking about the long-run. And may I add, I think I would melt if they had a song that did a bit of call-and-response or boy-to-girl vocals. I think they’re the perfect group for that.

2. The song structure is a bit too similar at times. The majority of the songs I heard start small, get heavier, and end quietly, with vocals backed by very little instrumentals. If this could be varied a bit more, the songs that do that would stand out more, and I think that would be a good thing. To add to that, one of my favorite parts of any of Eric’s songs is when he slides his hand down the piano keys in “Good In My Hood.” It’s BIG, it’s EXCITING, and it gets you pumped up. I think this move is a little overused in Delta Rae’s songs. It just takes a bit of the excitement out of things when it’s used too often.

3. I’m biased on this one because I’m not as keen on folky, country-sounding music as I am on more catchy tunes, though I wouldn’t venture as far as calling what I’m looking for pop. But I found myself desiring a bit more songs that are upbeat. Like I said, “Morning Comes” was unforgettable. “Darlin’ If” is a sing-along song. But the slower songs seemed one too many, and despite the truthfulness and soul in them, I think I leaned a bit more toward the upbeat songs. Don’t get me wrong-it’s great to have a variety, but in moving forward, keep producing some of those catchy tunes that will hook your audience!

That’s it for constructive criticism. It really was a great show. And like I said, I’ve given Eric some tough critiques about this band. But I was thoroughly pleased, and right when I thought I’d walk out wishing for a bit more out of such potential, they ended with a killer song that would remain stuck in my head for a full day (“Darlin If”) to sweep away my premonitions. Overall, great work by Delta Rae, and I really look forward to watching this band progress.


Live performance: 9.5/10

Music: 8/10 - Sunset In The Rearview - Blog

"Delta Rae's Debut EP // Talented Local Act Releases Album"

If you haven't seen local "soulful folk/rock" sensation Delta Rae perform yet, you are part of a rapidly dwindling population and should remedy that right now. You can start by checking out their debut EP, just released for sale on, or by watching the video below, of their original gospel tune "Bottom of the River," always a crowd-pleaser and an excellent showcase of their impressive vocal talent.

This versatile group of young musicians, featuring a core of Elizabeth Hopkins and sibling trio Eric Hölljes, Ian Hölljes and Brittany Hölljes, along with James Goldberg, recently opened for national act Edwin McCain at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro. This is a group a long time in the making; Brittany is a childhood friend of the Hölljes's, and Eric and Ian have been performing together for years, throughout both of their undergraduate careers at Duke. Delta Rae has been a band for less than a year, but they already have a dedicated following and have made appearances not only in the Triangle area but across the state and as far away as California and New York. With powerful vocals (various lead vocalists), tight harmonies, strong instrumentation, great lyrics and general good looks, this group is poised to do big things. I fully expect to hear "Darling If" or "Ooh Caroline" on the radio before too long. Delta Rae won't be "local" for long, so check them out at one of their upcoming shows. Here are details on their CD release party:
The Delta Rae CD Release Party w/ Vienna Teng and Alex Wong, and Jason Adamo
Where: The Broad Street Cafe
1116 Broad St, Durham NC 27705
When: June 7, 2010; Doors 6pm, Show 7pm
Price: Advance $12; Door $15
Tickets: Purchase Here; Get your tickets -- we're shooting for a sold-out show!

I am particularly fond of this band for their Duke connection and because they played at a February benefit concert that I organized and which doubled as my CD release show. When they get famous, I can say that they opened for me. ;) -- Sarah - New Creation


Delta Rae - EP

Delta Rae - Live At Lincoln Theatre

"Bottom of the River" (single) - Currently in rotation at KCRW (Los Angeles) and previously played at 98.7 (Los Angeles)



“It’s hard to deny when the real thing shows up. And they’re the real thing… I promise you you’re gonna be like ‘hey I was on a boat with them’ when you’re watching them on TV...They’re fantastic.” -Edwin McCain (Cayamo Cruise 2010)

“Wow. I think we should be opening for them. That was really really really impressive." -Isaac Hanson of Hanson (Livestream from The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC)

"Honored by [Delta Rae's] beautiful version." Alanis Morissette, writing on Facebook and twitter, after discovering that Delta Rae covered a version of her song “Your House.”

DELTA RAE is a force of nature -- Like a fire that can either warm your soul or burn the house down, they often do both. From a quiet house in the woods of North Carolina you can hear their voices ringing out, capturing the hope, optimism and unbridled energy of their generation.

Comprised of siblings Ian, Eric, and Brittany Hölljes, along with childhood friend Liz Hopkins, and rhythm section Grant Emerson and Mike McKee, DELTA RAE has opened for Hanson, Carbon Leaf, Rooney, and Edwin McCain, among others, and were recently signed by Seymour Stein to Sire Records. Delta Rae plans to release their first full-length LP in late Spring 2012.