Delta Rae, the rising Americana sextet who turned heads at Bonnaroo this summer, open their new single, “Chasing Twisters,” with what sounds like an Ennio Morricone sample. Drums rumble like hooves on the plains while a distant whistle builds the song’s tension. Next, vocals soar in, still building pressure until the bands erupts into a chorus that is unabashed country enthusiasm.
“When I was a kid, my dad would make up songs about my brother and me, cast as heroic cowboys fighting our way through the Wild West, always with a galloping horse beat like in the theme for Bonanza,” Delta Rae’s Ian Holljes tells Rolling Stone. “I found myself wanting a song like that, evoking the mysterious badlands and cowboys and Indians flying across the salt flats. The central theme [is] pulled from one of my favorite American folk stories, Pecos Bill, in which the greatest cowboy who ever lived lassoes a tornado. The idea of chasing twisters in the canyon, chasing something you’ll never catch, is a lot like songwriting for me.”
“Chasing Twisters” follows Delta Rae’s “If I Loved You” single, which included Fleetwood Mac‘s Lindsey Buckingham on guitar, and it precedes Chasing Twisters – The EP. Being that the band is often compared to Fleetwood Mac, the Buckingham pairing made sense. It’s a little more surprising that the spaghetti Western motif fits so perfectly within the group’s oeuvre, but that whistle makes it sound like a shoot-out could start at any second.