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Delta Kings: 4 Chords & The Truth on Innocent Words

5/25/2010 12:00:00 AM

Comfort, the name is Delta Kings. The latest long player from the DKs, weighing in at a value-packed 15 tracks, is out and, boy-oh-boy, is it a treat.

The album in question - 4 Chords & The Truth - is one of those albums you could play on Saturday night to get your party started or as a come down on Sunday morning. It’s a very versatile listen that brings to mind all the best of Mellencamp, Petty and countless other “go-to” rock bands.

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Album Review: Delta Kings' 4 Chords & the Truth on Smile Politely

5/25/2010 12:00:00 AM

The Delta Kings are Cody Sokolski (vocals, rhythm guitar), Matt Stewart (lead guitar), Bill Humphrey (bass) and Terry Hawkins (drums), formed in 1993. 4 Chords & the Truth, recorded with uber-producer Mark Rubel, marks their fifth studio album, and the music is just as honed and in the pocket as you'd expect from a veteran group. Now, bear in mind that 4 Chords doesn't set out to make any grand statements or to change the world. It's the sound of a few friends getting together for a jam, and a good one at that.

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Just a great album and a real iTunes find. (5 stars)

4/7/2011 12:00:00 AM

By bkrchic via iTunes.

There are a lot of great albums out there, but surprisingly few of them are straightforward rock. They're "indie rock," "garage rock" or "pop rock;" "art rock," "blues rock," or "modern rock" (whatever that is.) But while all those have their (often considerable) charms, sometimes you just want an album that has strong melodies, rhythms, and energy - you know, "rock rock." As radio gets ever more niche-driven, those are increasingly hard to find. It's all angsty Pearl Jam clones, Madonna dress-up clones, Gwen Stefani bouncey clones, Vampire Weekend, Disney bands or old 60's singer/songwriters who were rebellious in their youth but now feel an overwhelming need to get in touch with their feelings in a strictly mid-tempo way. 

That is NOT the Delta Kings. These guys play great but unpretentious rock, with songs that are well-written with grooves, actual riffs, catchy choruses and tight rhythms. More than that, there's distinct joy in the music. Nothing is post-modern ironic here; no one is morose, and no one in the Delta Kings is upset because they have to be adults. Instead, they love rock and roll and they sound it, in the same way Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, or The Traveling Wilbury's, always sound like they're having a blast.

There are several standout songs on this album: the psychedelic "It All Comes Down to You," the Kinks-ian "Do You Got Love," the lovely "Something I Gotta Say" and the straight-up "She's Got to Have a Crazy Problem." And while the Delta Kings may not be kids, but they aren't aging gracefully, either. "Gdwmtghnm" is an often hilarious lament to not quiiiite bouncing back from partying like you used to, while "Hats" and "Rock 'n' Roll Will Take You In" show it's possible to be reflective AND rebellious.

It's a shame there's no niche for "rock rock" left on the radio; if there were, this record would be played over and over. This album has become one of my favorites and a car staple.

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The lyrics of ["Something I Gotta Say"] are perfect. I've loved that song since I heard it.

"It All Comes Down To You," transcends for me. [It] leaves the setting of the Delta Kings' new record and goes onto my list of all-time favorite songs. I'm able to just get lost in the song.

The guitar work is amazing. A super gratifying sound; real full-blown rock and roll. When the record plays, you realize how much you have missed real rock and roll and how missing it really is in the mainstream!

[The] vocals are great. Cody has such a likeable and accessible voice that really makes sense with his lyrics and complements the overall sound.

Eleni Moraites

Singer/Songwriter Champaign, Illinois

This is a truly great party record, with a heart of gold! In its more serious moments, the band shows a new depth and clarity. While tackling topics as varied as the impact a hat can have on your confidence (or not) to facing the dangers of drug addiction, to coming to terms with the hardships of the current economy, Cody and the boys don't shy away from lifes hard topics, but instead give you the ability to dance all over them! The Rave-ups are there...The solos that serve the songs are there...And in the stunner closer "Somethin' I Gotta say" Cody reveals what every guy needs to reveal to his love: I probably forget to tell you too much- but I'm the luckiest guy on the planet...With the always rock solid rhythm section of Bill Humphries and Terry Hawkins laying the framework down, and with the addition of virtuoso guitarist Matt Stewart (and Cody's no slouch on guitar himself), it feels like this is only the beginning of some very amazing records!

David Howie

Songwriter/Singer/Guitarist Champaign, IL

There are times when quality and great songs deserve an audience even though they don’t have the mainstream marketing engines behind them. 4 Chords is clearly 15 of those times.

Jeremy Farrance

Rock Fan Champaign, IL

The Delta Kings have really done it this time. Tight production. Great vocals and guitar work. A real home run!

Marc Ansel

Rock Fan Champaign, IL

The Delta Kings played my Shlomo’s Bar Mitzvah. They were such nice boys, even if they weren’t Kosher. They were a little loud (oy!), and they nearly cleaned us out of Manishewitz, but their version of Hava Nagila is to die for!

Lon Rozelle

Drummer/Vocalist CockTail, Los Angeles, CA

Love Summer of Discontent, we can all relate. Sensitive, sad, contemplative. A beautifully written piece from the heart...Hold Me Tight is a beautiful song. Let's just say, it made my cry a wee bit. As a parent, a lover and one that is loved. Very mature song from a guy I thought would never grow up. I love the sentiment 'hold me when the world goes different.'

By the way, the guitars sound great.

Lorraine Edminster

Designer Tucson, AZ

Musically it's varied, but not incoherent. For me that's always a sign of a good album. There's straight rock'n'roll (She's Got to Have a Crazy Problem), there are songs that have an athmospheric jazz-like finger-snapping feel to them (Do You Got Love, Flying Solo), ballads (Something I Gotta Say), pop songs and even a bit of 60's psychedelic rock (It All Comes Down to You). And then there are songs like I'm a Survivor, where Lou Reed meets Little Steven or Springsteen or someone, and I Ain't That Guy reminds me of Brian Setzer.

What impresses me is that although the record's almost an hour long, you've managed to keep it interesting all the way. Not everyone is able to do that. I think it takes real talent to write songs that are this versatile.

I love the female backing vocals, I think they really add to the sound. They're so soulful and sound really cool together with your voice, which is more edgy and dirty rock'n'roll singing. It's a good contrast. Summer of Our Discontent and It's Too Late are good examples of this, I really enjoy those vocal arrangements.

There's a lot of air and space in your sound and I'm guessing this what the band sounds like live, too. I think you sound like a band, not just like four guys playing on top of each other, if you know what I mean. The rhythm section has a good groove going on.

I'm glad you've kept it simple soundwise, because so many records are over-produced. I'm sure it's fun to play with all the effects and gadgets in the studio but then it's very difficult to sound as good live. In this case, the people who buy this record because they liked your gig won't be disappointed. And this is how you make your music sound timeless - bands that try to sound modern sound old-fashioned a couple of years later. I think this record could have been made any time after the seventies.

I don't really have anything to complain about here. Except that in principle I prefer albums with fewer songs. Back in the vinyl days an album was about 10 songs and that is still enough in my opinion. This is almost a double album. Maybe you could have left a couple of songs for the next record? But then again it doesn't get boring, so that's not really a problem. So, all in all, you can't go wrong with good songs and a timeless production. A job well done.

Ari Väntänen

Sue (magazine), Helsinki, Finland

Cody Sokolski, once again, proves that there is no slowing him [down]. These songs, ably backed by a band of super-seasoned veterans, drip with honesty and are ready to be heard by anyone with enough courage to listen.

Seth Fein

Nicodemus Agency

Great Roots Rock! God job, great mix great artwork, Excellent songs! You should be very proud!

Mike Finkelstein

Rock Drummer

I first saw a Delta Kings show in the summer of 2010 filming a documentary about the history of the Champaign music scene. The Delta Kings put on a great live show and just like their new CD '4 Chords & The Truth' it is filled with great music. Making my film I have been looking for bands and musicians who have not only made good music, but who have made an impact on the local music scene over the last 50 years. The Delta Kings have done both and they continue to prove it with this new CD and their live shows. The Delta Kings have definitely proven to be one of the great bands to come out of Champaign and will be more than just a footnote in the history of the Champaign music scene.

Bob Zimmerman


The band ups the ante in every direction with this one - excellent sonics, tasty slide work, and a big, new lyrical sensibility make this an excellent album. I particularly like the 60s-influenced ' Do You Got Love ', and ' It All Comes Down To You'


producer and recording engineer

I'm listening now! I love it! Tis ROCK n' ROLL! Love YA!

Angie Heaton

Rock'n'Roll Songwriter and Spokesperson for a generation

Wow! Whatta great LP! '4 Chords & The Truth' is remarkably listenable stuff. The guitar sonics are deluxe, the melodies real and 3D, the lyrics are cinematic and organic. The vocals are superbly heartfelt and even commercial. The packaging is very cool too. I WANT to hear it again!

Binky Philips

Music Blogger/Columnist, Owner, Rock Guitarist DotPointPeriod Management, The Planets

The term 'Americana' has been tossed around a lot lately. The repeated statements and boasts of the Trendy do little to help the cause of the Real Thing, people like Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, The Fleet Foxes and Felice Brothers, [as a newer example] are a few of the 'Real Thing.'"

Bring in the Delta Kings to this mix and you see a comfortable camaraderie. Great Lyrics, Playing, Great songs that don't try too hard, They just DO IT. (woops,sorry Nike)  As the best music hits you where you live, These guys live in the Heartland, and play from the Heart. Go Delta Kings!

Dave Donen

New York Drummer, Raconteur

"Diggin' the new rockin' sound of the Delta Kings!  If the parking lot of the roadhouse is full, don't drive by…cause if you go in and the 'Kings' are on stage, you won't leave without a copy of 4 Chords & the Truth."

Jet Sterling

DJ/ Producer Surfabilly Freakout Radio

The Kings have put out some pretty impressive records in the past, but "4 Chords" is by far their best. Great hooks, terrific lyrics, soulful singing and groove that just won't quit. These cats call themselves a " bar band"- well, if that's the case then they're the best God damn bar band around. If you don't add "4 Chords & The Truth" to your collection, then you're really NOT a music lover. Stone cold pros? Abso-fuckin'-lutely!

Jock Hedblade

Executive Producer, Host WLS Radio Chicago, SuperThriller

4 Chord & The Truth is the real deal. Real music by real musicians with up real passion for what they do.

Jim Hewitt

Producer, Guitarist, Songwriter

It's a great rock and roll record by a great band. I'd have to really search to find any 'criticism'. Band sounds great. Songs are cool. The sounds are very good and right on the money for the songs.

Eric Ambel

Producer, Guitarist Bottle Rockets, the Blood Oranges, Nils Lofgren, Freedy Johnston, Blue Mountain, the Backsliders, Go to Blazes, Tammy Faye Starlite and Mary Lee's Corvette

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