Photo provided by Loud & Proud Records
A crowd of 250 people packed a 150-person club in the northern Spanish city Congas, and The Delta Saints let their rock style fill the room of crammed and sweaty bodies.
Watching the people crowd surf and sing each word by heart, the band soaked up the passion and culture of the city.
The Delta Saints, a rock group, will be returning to Nashville for the third Live on the Green appearance on Sept. 3.
The three Belmont alumni Ben Ringel, David Supica and Dylan Fitch never imagined themselves playing a European tour or Live on the Green when they transferred to Belmont University as sophomores and juniors in 2007.
“We started from hanging out and drinking beers. Music was what we did in addition to the social aspect of it,” said Ringel, the lead singer of the Saints. “It kind of very organically came about, and we never had the intention at least in the beginning to start a band.”
Although the friends never originally intended to form a band, eight years later they now have a record deal at Tom Lipsky’s Loud & Proud Records. The Saints have toured the U.S. averaging 200 shows per year, toured Europe performing for over 200 times and have opened for acts ranging from Blackberry Smoke to Michael Franti & Spearhead, according to the band’s biography.
Ringel attributes the band’s success to a combination of real life experience and Belmont’s culture of networking.
“The biggest thing about Belmont for me looking back wasn’t necessarily from the educational standpoint,” he said.”But it kind of put you into essentially a giant melting pot of your peers that a few years down the road would be running the industry.”
From Belmont’s campus, to American and European cities, the success of the band continues to grow. Now Ringel, bassist Supica, guitarist Fitch and keyboardist Nate Kremer will finish up part two of their American tour in Louisville on Friday.
The opportunity to introduce their music to the West Coast for the first time during the 2015 summer tour proved to bring in a positive response from first time listeners and allowed them to expand their audience, Ringel said.
“Seeing it work and be quasi-sustainable and having the support of a label, PR team, management and booking does give you a little sense of accomplishment,” he said. “But it also helps ignite this fire to help you go OK, we’re here but where do we want to be in a year to see another step of growth?”
Once the American tour ends, the band will kick off its seventh European tour on Sept. 10 in Verviers, Belgium.
“It’s a dream even still. It’s on everybody’s bucket list. Just the idea of touring outside of America and to be able to do our own stuff, play our own music and turn it into a self-sustaining machine, it’s a really fantastic experience,” said Ringel.
In the midst of the American and European tours, on Aug. 7, The Delta Saints released its album “Bones” rooted in rock n’ roll, R&B, soul, gospel and country.
For Ringel, “Butte La Rose,” a song about a Louisiana town flooded to save New Orleans, is a song that he was the most proud to create for the album.
Third Man Records alumnus Eddie Spear helped to produce the “off the cuff” track. Dylan and Ringel entered the recording room without a written song and only a basic chord structure, and within five or six minutes “Butte La Rose” was born, Ringel said.
“It just came out beautifully. It’s definitely a journey that takes you to one sorrowful place to one psychedelic place in the end. For this band, it shook us out of the rut that we were in in the recording process.”
The Delta Saints will bring “Butte La Rose” and the other tracks from their record “Bones” to Live on the Green on Sept. 3.
The band is looking forward to returning to Nashville for Live on the Green and playing a live show, as The Delta Saints consider it one of its greatest strengths, Ringel said. “If our last couple of times playing Live on the Green is any indication, it’s almost scary to be taking that much in and trying to keep a level output trying to keep a level head,” he said. “The sheer energy of that many people is intoxicating, to have 10 or 15 thousand people listening to and interacting with your music.” For more information on Live on the Green, tour dates and “Bones” go to The Delta Saints’s website.
– Graphic created by Brooklyn Penn