Can a biologist breathe new life into the Blues? Can a singer from the Deep South do justice to a Country & Blue Grass tinged song book, when the deep south she hails from is, geographically at least, south of Liverpool, in Wavertree? Does the continental divide of an ostensibly Nth American music distil its very essence and thus compromise its credibility?
Where we may do Punk very well we didn't do Grunge at all well. We can wipe the floor with Dance Music but can't really enter the big top of Hip-Hop greats. We give Folk a very English perspective and may colour it with a Country influence but when we go all out to emulate and imitate the results are at best, mixed.
Delta Maid grew up listening to her Fathers classic record collection, strewn as it was with earthy Blues and impassioned rhetoric. Having been won over by the heartfelt and evocative pieces her genre of choice was inextricably imbedded. On Broken Branches, her new 5 track EP release, she endeavours to walk the fine line between the clichÃ©d road of near mimicry, and that of the pursuit of a fresh interpretation through resolute conviction and desire. The intentions are good but the jury is still out, her soul maybe in Louisiana but her message still comes from Merseyside.
On the five tracks we get 2 earnest enough covers in the form of JB Lenoirs 'Slow Down' and Eric Bibbs 'Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down'. The remaining 3 tracks are from Delta Maid herself, with a little help from her brother on guitar. The lead track is rather like a pacifists version of Johnny Cash singing "I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." Delta's take on this is rather less impressive "I've broken branches just to hear the sound of the snap when it breaks and hits the ground." No one went to Falsom for breaking branches.
Stop Worryin' and Any Way I Want To, the remaining 2 tracks, capture the fragility and texture that are at the edges of a voice which is warm and full of depth. What emerges over the EP is like a Nth East version of the Nth West's Beautiful South, Delta Maid herself at one point sings the word 'cynical', in such a way you could be forgiven for thinking she's just about to head off to Rotterdam! Probably to meet Dolly P, whose influence can also be clearly heard throughout.
A very different, slightly uneasy listen, Broken Branches challenges stereotypes and perceptions through a musical journey. Delta Maid clearly knows what she likes and what she's all about, whether there is a large enough audience to share that remains to be seen.