Portland, Oregon based country-soul group The Delines have announced their third studio album, The Sea Drift, will be released on February 11, 2022 via their new American label home Jealous Butcher Records.
The stunning first single and opening track of the album “Little Earl,” is out today accompanied by a music video directed by Jordan Mosser. “Little Earl” is the perfect introduction to the sights, sounds, and characters that populate the vivid world The Delines have conjured in The Sea Drift, their most cinematic and visual album yet. Written by songwriter and author Willy Vlautin, and performed by lead singer Amy Boone, “Little Earl” is a tender and moving song that manages to blend soul, country, folk and indie rock into a sound that feels warmly familiar yet totally unique. “Little Earl” is the first track from a collection of songs The Delines describe as “songs and stories found drifting up and down the Gulf Coast.”
“‘Little Earl’ was one of the first tracks I brought to ‘The Sea Drift’ rehearsal sessions, and as it turns out the one that helped create the sound and feel of the entire record,” Vlautin writes. “It’s a soul/Tony Joe White inspired groove, and Cory Gray’s horn and string arrangements set the cinematic tone for two brothers who get in a shoplifting-gone-wrong incident at a mini-mart outside of Port Arthur, Texas. I love songs that just drop you in the middle of a scene and that’s what we tried to do here.”
The video for “Little Earl” was shot by videographer Jordan Mosser in and around the town of Galveston, Texas. The video is shot entirely through the windows of a car driving around Galveston as day turns to night, mirroring the narrative of the song as Little Earl and his brother who is “bleeding in the backseat” drive down the Gulf Coast, debating if they should go to a hospital to treat his wounds in the aftermath of their get rich quick scheme gone wrong. Willy often writes about down-on-their-luck characters scraping by to survive in cities and towns around America, characters who are “often on the lam or heading that way, rough and damaged but still upright.” Little Earl and his brother are perfect examples of the kind of ordinary tragic figures Willy is drawn to.
The Sea Drift is the first new material recorded by The Delines since Amy Boonewas in a horrific car accident in 2016 that hospitalized her for multiple years 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 the band. 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.”
Photo Courtesy: Summer Luu