There’s something quite fitting about Delta Maid belting out emotion ridden blues on a brick walled stage, as fans lean upon a wooden clad bar. In fact were it not for the Liverpudlian accent that engulfs her mid set banter, the audience could be forgiven for believing they’d stepped into some downtown American bar, especially since her singing voice mirrors that of Patsy Cline.
She might have just opened for Gary Barlow but tonight she seems perfectly at home, as if the smaller venue was the space she was meant to fill. Opening with up tempo bluegrass numbers including the title track of her EP Broken Branches she draws the crowd in close, but it’s when the more ballad driven Picking Up The Pieces begins that her diversity is highlighted. Whilst each style still displays her desire to fuse songs with emotion, it’s definitely the slower numbers which hold the weight.
It’s in this number that the woman to my left mysteriously looks at my note pad before quickly saying ‘I hope you’re writing something nice, I’m the agent’ and if Delta hadn’t already transfixed the room into a sea of starring faces, I might have been tempted to enter into a bribe. But Delta needs no helping hand and as she jumps into songs filled with Led Zeppelin riffs – it’s fair to say I’m more than impressed. Delta might not be doing anything explicitly new, but she is helping resurrect the profile of the blue genre in a way that will strike a chord with the masses. It’s clear then, that she’s studied her craft carefully and does this anew with her own emotion.
As she rounds off with the big band sounding Built For Comfort fuelled by a stonking drum beat, my only puzzlement is where she’ll go. Whilst the Liverpool Post are tipping her as the next best thing, the Guardian seem to plant her in Stars In Their Eyes territory and I have to admit I suspect she’d give a rather good ‘tonight Matthew…’. Delta is good, better than good in fact and live she’s a force to be reckoned with, but there’s something that makes me suggest her album will fall on my mother’s Christmas list and not mine. That being said and if her inspirational reworking of The Way It Is is anything to go by, maybe it’s more that she’s yet to reach her peak.