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Delta Rae grows, provokes on new album

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Delta Rae's Elizabeth Hopkins says that bandmates -- and brothers -- Ian and Eric Holljes -- have been a bit hard to take in the van since their alma mater, Duke University, won the national college basketball championship earlier this month.

"Well, they're insufferable most of the time but, yes, they've been very excited," says Hopkins, 29, who co-founded the folk-rock group with the brothers and their sister, Brittany Holljes, six years ago in North Carolina. "They were watching the game while we were in Australia. It was eight in the morning and they were down in the restaurant in the hotel watching the game.

"They're thrilled, of course. They come from a family of Duke fans. It's in their blood."

Hopkins and the Holljes have other reasons to be exited, of course. Delta Rae released its second album, "After It All," just a few days after Duke's victory, and watched it debut at No. 3 on Billboards Heatseekers chart and No. 10 on the Folk Albums survey -- three points higher than the band's first album. Hopkins says that the new songs have been going over well with audiences but that the rust belt lament "Bethlehem Steel" has become particular favorite.

"It's a social commentary about the death of an industry and the death of blue collar jobs in America. That's an interesting topic in America right now," Hopkins says. The inspiration, she adds, was playing several times at a club in Bethlehem, Pa., that sits across from the closed steel mill there, which she says "casts a huge shadow on the ground and on the venue. It's really wild looking and it has such a striking presence that even though it's not actually alive, you can't help but think of all the things it meant and the men who worked there and in industrial towns like Flint and Baltimore and Detroit and Ohio, too -- the assembly lines that were a way of life that really doesn't exist anymore here."

Mostly, however, Hopkins says the best part of having "After It All" out is that it gives Delta Rae another album's worth of songs to play at its shows.

"It can get really old playing the same songs," she notes. "We're still playing songs from 2012's 'Carry The Fire,' but it's been, like, two, three years of only songs from 'Carry the Fire.' So it's very nice to be able to mix it up and offer a few new songs into the show."

Delta Rae and Greg Holden

Thursday, April 23. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 day of show, $45 reserved mezzanine.

Call (248) 399-2980 or www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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