The Lechlade Festival
The Lechlade Festival
Arts & Culture
The Delines release their LP The Sea Drift  on Decor Records

By Tyler Ody

The Sea Drift is the first new material recorded by The Delines since Amy Boone was in a horrific car accident in 2016 that hospitalized her for over a year and delayed the completion of their 2019 album The Imperial until Amy was able to stand on her own two feet again to finish recording the already mostly completed record. There was a period of time during Amy’s long recovery in which Willy was unsure Amy would want to continue on with the band after the immense physical and mental toll of her injuries, but Amy has a fighter’s spirit, and as soon as she could, she was ready to get back in the saddle and record another album with Willy. Speaking of her contributions to the album, Willy said “‘The Sea Drift’ sessions were also the first time since Amy had been injured that she felt strong and confident in the studio, and you can really hear it on this record. There’s strength to her voice, the strength of someone who’s overcome a lot of trauma and pain.”

The music of The Delines is clearly rooted in the past, as Willy and Amy have bonded over their shared love of soul and country songwriters from the 60s like Tony Joe White and Bobbie Gentry, but what makes this album so special is how it manages to evoke these voices from eras gone by without ever sounding stayed or overly traditional. Speaking to the inspiration for this record, Willy said “The idea for the ‘The Sea Drift’ began with Amy and my mutual love of Tony Joe White. We used to have conversations about his records and she’d always joke, ‘Just write me ‘Rainy Night in Georgia.’ Jesus, what a tall order, but I guess in my own way I started trying.”

The Delines are the result of the musical collaboration and friendship of Willy Vlautin and Amy Boone, an opportunity for Willy to continue writing his mini-narrative songs that he gained notoriety for as the former frontman of the alt-country group Richmond Fontaine through a new voice and perspective offered by Amy. In addition to being a songwriter, Willy is an acclaimed novelist. Two of his six novels, Lean On Pete and The Motel Life have been adapted into feature films, so it’s no wonder that his newest material has such a visually evocative and cinematic mood. Describing Willy’s songwriting style, Amy writes “I think the songs on The Sea Drift have the kind of ‘realness’ that Tony Joe was after - romantic realism.”

The Sea Drift is the world of the Delines set on the Gulf Coast. From Little Earl, the tale of two brothers fleeing a convenience store after a shop-lifting-gone-wrong-incident, to Drowning in Plain Sight, where a middle-aged woman drives aimlessly outside of Galveston unable to go home to her waiting family. In All Along The Ride you’re in the car as a couple’s relationship disintegrates on a drive back from Corpus Christi. There’s the cinematic Surfers in Twilight, the tale a woman leaving work to find her boyfriend arrested on a seaside boardwalk to the 60’s pop of Kid Codeine and the soul romance of Hold Me Slow and Saved From The SeaPast the Shadows is the self-destructive dream of the never ending night and This Ain’t No Getaway is an edge-of-your seat domestic drama where a woman gets the last of her belongings from an abusive boyfriend’s apartment declaring, “Even if the police are called, I’m gonna leave not escape, because this ain’t no getaway.”
The cinematic feel showcased on The Sea Drift is bolstered by the rich, warm instrumentation throughout the album. Cory Gray’s keyboard, string, and horn arrangements serve as a central musical core while being backed by soul bass supreme Freddy Trujillo and jazz drummer Sean Oldham. On The Sea Drift The Delines once again partnered with John Morgan Askew who produced their 2014 debut Colfax which evoked a beat-up Dusty Springfield and a weary Rickie Lee Jones, making over a dozen top ten year-end lists. Askew again produced 2019’s The Imperial which spent two weeks topping the UK Official Americana charts and lead to two sold-out tours. The Sea Drift picks up where both previous albums left off, further refining the country soul that the band has become known for.