Steel guitar, acoustic guitar, and old timey harmonies are all abundant in the newest album from The Green Boys. Oh Delia is a smile-inducing, joy-filled old time country album that is sure to get people dancing. The Green Boys show off remarkable classic country proficiency is this exciting release that reflects the early days of country music.
From the opening dark, “It’s Easy (to die alone)” listeners are welcomed into a bygone era in country music. A track welcome in honky tonks across the South, this song reminds listeners that it’s hard to find a love worth keeping. It’s immediately followed by a song called, “My Love,” a delightfully sweet love song about the end of a relationship. Lead singer Ryan Green’s vocal crack gives the track a sincerity that is comfortable while also being deep. The vocal blending on the chorus fills the track with joy, despite the heartbreaking reality that the song itself is about love lost. The sonic quality of the song is light and airy (mostly caused by the structure of the background vocals), but it’s the lack of tight strumming that makes it stand out from the rest of the album. It’s a really, really good song.
“Summer Song” is probably the best track on the album. It’s whimsical, fun, but still has an ethereal quality about it that makes it endearing. It’s the kind of song that seems eerily familiar, even though it’s brand new. The vocal blending and easy-going nature of the track makes it feel like listeners should be strolling through the tobacco fields of the Virginia coast. It’s a hit, plain and simple.
“St. Mary’s Wilderness” layers banjo, mandolin, and simple vocals for a perfectly balanced roots country sound. Imagery of the blue ridge hills and “the country side” gives the perception of a natural and artistic mood. Again the vocal blending is stunning. Tracks like this make it hard to believe it’s the band’s first full length. The seemingly simple string solos are delivered with grace and class, but give the track a subtle sophistication. In short, its not an ostentatious display of outrageous finger picking. Rather the mood of the string work suits the soft, sweet “walk in the woods” feel of the song. So good.
The instrumental “Black Mountain Promenade” is a true breath of fresh air. It almost makes listeners want a whole album of this kind of acoustic instrumental roots bluegrass music. But then on so many of the other tracks The Green Boys are so good with their harmonies that we want them to sing for us too. In any event, “BMP” is a cozy track. It is followed by “Fine by Me” another somewhat standard country tune with a different sort of attitude. Its a little bit blues, a little bit heartbreak song, and a lot of minor chord changes that give it a wonderfully distinct sound. With a nostalgic tone recalling a defunct relationship, it’s an emotive track that many can relate to, especially with the witty lyric, “If I’m a fool… it’s fine by me.”
One of my favorite songs on the whole album is the final cover of the Jungle Book Song, “I Wanna Be Like You.” It’s a hilarious and incredibly fun song! When I first discovered the album, I shared this track with a number of friends. It’s the kind of remarkable artistry that listeners forget it’s a cover. It’s a delight, truly.
All told the album is highly recommended for nearly everyone that enjoys the bands on this site. Although their work is considered “roots country” or even at times bluegrass, their work is about much more than that. It’s a true revitalization project that takes the best of these older art forms and breathes new life into them through clever songwriting and remarkable execution. Fans of old time country and the roots music revival MUST get this album. Let’s get these boys on the country music stations of this era!