Music

Survivors of wildfire find refuge in music

The Deltaz brothers are back on the road touring after losing their California home and studio

By Dawn Franco
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 7/25/19

In November 2018 two musicians lost their home and recording studio in a wildfire in Southern California outside Los Angeles, and since then they've decided there is no better time to …

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Music

Survivors of wildfire find refuge in music

The Deltaz brothers are back on the road touring after losing their California home and studio

Posted

In November 2018 two musicians lost their home and recording studio in a wildfire in Southern California outside Los Angeles, and since then they've decided there is no better time to load up and tour.

The Deltaz will perform their first local show at Old Martina's Hall in Ranchos de Taos at 9 p.m. today (July 25).

Brothers Ted and John Siegel along with bass player Adam Zanoff from Southern California will be sharing the stage performing Americana, folk and blues. Ted, the guitarist and lyricist, as well as John on drums, and Zanoff doing vocals and playing harmonica will be playing songs from 2018's album "Barrelhouse Boys" and new material for the album they haven't been able to record due to the loss of their property.

"We've got most of our instruments and we have our music. We can go out on the road. It's never been a good time as ever to be out on the road when you don't have a home to go back to," said Ted Siegel.

"It's a tough break, but we'll be alright, at the end of the day it's just things," he said.

The Deltaz have been a band for eight years and have been touring both cross-country and internationally for six. Armed with three full-length albums as well as several singles and compilations, they will be returning to familiar landscapes. These fellows are no strangers to the Land of Enchantment, in fact many songs from the last album were written in Ramah, New Mexico.

"We have some friends that own some property in Ramah, south of Gallup where the Zuni and Navajo reservations are," said Ted Siegel. "Almost every tour we stop in Ramah and play. It's one of the only places in the country where we take a couple of days off to hang out there, I actually wrote a lot of our last album there."

They will be playing 1970s Rodger drums and a '50s Harmony Rocket guitar on songs such as "Wild Mustang," "Creekbed" and "Fireline." "We write lots of songs about home and where we're from," Ted Siegel said. The Deltaz have an evocative and narrative style to their lyrical diction and musical fashion.

"Wild Mustang" is a literal and metaphorical piece about raising wild horses received from the Bureau of Land Management as well as learning to handle life when it gets rowdy and uncontrollable."It's about having wild mustangs and the process of taming a wild animal -- also about life, wild and out of control, you have to get your hands around it and deal with it," Ted Siegel said.

Prior to the fire in 2018, The Deltaz wrote "Fireline," a tribute song for female inmates, one in particular, who died defending their property in another fire in 2016 with firefighters. California supplements fire crews with incarcerated volunteers. The Deltaz had heard about the woman after the fire was successfully extinguished. Based on an article they read they wrote about her life on the line to protect their home.

"We read a really good article about her in The New York Times, a really interesting article about this woman Shawna Jones and we were the only home threatened that night by the fire," Ted Siegel said. "We lost our home and now we play the song and it has this whole different meaning to us."

"Creekbed" is about the canyon and the river near their home surrounding Agoura and Thousand Oaks California. When the Siegel brothers were children they often played in the river, it was always flowing then. However, for the past few years the riverbed was dry.

"One winter we had this flash of rain that was very unusual and all of a sudden the creek beds filled up with water again, it hadn't rained in such a long time the land acted kind of strange," Ted Siegel said. "There was sediment and rock in the water, so instead of running clear and white, the river ran red with this really intense color." The brothers had witnessed more flora and wildlife and the song was inspired. The superbloom soon dried and became fuel for another fire.

The songs are in a series about their home in Southern California, the drought and the fires. "The songs are connected in a strange story," Ted Siegel said. "The music is complicated. You share your experiences with people - it's therapeutic, cathartic."

The Deltaz have a unique stage presence including retro slide guitar and John Siegel who sings, plays drums and harmonica all at once. The brothers have a definitive harmony and rock 'n' roll influence. They will be touring for two and a half months in the states stopping in Oklahoma and Tennessee prior to the show at Old Martina's Hall before heading to Europe to play a music festival in Germany and to continue touring.

Doors open at 8 p.m. the event is open to all ages. The cover is $10.

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