...the Delevantes deliver a broad view of the American musical crossroad where country and rock meet and, in this case, become one.”
Trailblazers in the modern era of Americana, the Delevantes are back with A Thousand Turns, their first album of new music in two decades.
Born and raised in a working-class New Jersey family, the brothers’ dynamic harmonies evoke classic duos like The Everly Brothers and The Louvin Brothers before them, and The Avett Brothers and Fleet Foxes after.
The Delevantes debut album, Long About That Time, was released by Rounder Records to considerable critical acclaim in 1995. Garry Tallent, long-time bass player in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, co-produced the record.
Entertainment Weekly gave the album an “A” and called it "big-city toughness with bluegrass twang." Original music videos for outstanding singles “Driving at Night,” and “Pocketful of Diamonds” played in regular rotation on VH1, CMT and other music channels, and the Delevantes performed live on The Conan O’Brien Show.
The term Americana as a musical genre was just beginning to percolate. The Delevantes, along with artists including Lucinda Williams, Wilco, Son Volt, the Jayhawks, and Whiskeytown defined the new genre. The brothers tapped into a timeless sound that helped launch the Americana movement. They shared stages with John Prine, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Levon Helm and a host of other Americana heavy weights.
A growing fanbase creating a buzz, hits on the new Gavin Americana radio chart, and a memorable roots-rockin’ performance at SXSW in Austin helped the Delevantes seal a major label deal with Capitol Records.
Postcards From Along the Way, again co-produced by Garry Tallent, featured 12 new songs with Tallent on bass, Benmont Tench (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) on keyboards, Mike Porter on drums, and John Noreen on pedal steel. Another classic.
Tallent is back yet again as co-producer on A Thousand Turns. In 2019, Bob and Mike Delevante returned to New Jersey to open for Southside Johnny, joined by Bruce Springsteen and Tallent, at the legendary Stone Pony Summer Stage in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Performing together again sparked new creative energy. With an invitation from Nashville’s Blackbird Academy to record, the brothers reunited with bandmates Tallent and Bryan Owings. The sessions gave birth to A Thousand Turns, produced by the Delevantes, Garry Tallent and Dave Coleman, and mixed by Mixmaster Bill Schnee.
Although Bob and Mike Delevante have lived in Nashville for more than 25 years, their New Jersey roots are inescapable. It was back in Jersey that they began experimenting with the sound that would become their foundation, timeless songs and easy two-part harmonies, infused with Bob’s unique vocal style and Mike’s distinctive Rickenbacker 12-string jangle.
As teenagers, Bob and Mike formed Wreckless Abandon, a quasi-bluegrass band covering The Beatles and The Monkees. In 1988, while living in Hoboken, they started the quartet Who’s Your Daddy. Countless shows in the New York Tri-State region cemented their rising fame. Life was good. But greener pastures beckoned. And Nashville seemed a natural landing spot for young musicians looking for a record deal playing what was soon to be known as Americana music.
While attending the New Music Seminar in New York, the Delevantes met Jody Williams from BMI who suggested they move to Nashville. “In November 1988, we spent a week in Nashville,” Bob recalls. “We saw Steve Earle live, saw Garry Tallent join Steve on stage, and later met him, and even hung out with Bono and Adam Clayton while sharing the stage at Tootsies. We started to think Nashville might be a good fit for our music.”
In 1993 the Delevantes made the move to Music City and started gigging all over town. It wasn’t long before they were winning fans and accolades. They played all the notable local clubs, including 12th & Porter, Exit In, Douglas Corner, Bluebird Café, and large city festivals. After securing a songwriting deal at Warner Chappell Publishing in 1994, they shopped demos recorded at Midtown Studio on Music Row. The Delevantes signed with indie label Rounder Records the following year.
In 1995, they were invited to play the very first Gavin Americana shows which would evolve into the highly influential Americana Music Association.
“I remember things starting to move quickly about this time,” Mike recalls. “Having a home in radio again for singer-songwriters that were our heroes, industry folks started to take notice. Being part of that was exciting. Also, Rounder was celebrating their 25th Anniversary so we were a part of some great shows and festivals as well as European tours.”
That same year, they backed Levon Helm who performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame show honoring Jimmie Rodgers. (Check out “Rag Mama Rag” on YouTube.)
But the brothers’ uniqueness doesn’t stop at music. Both New York art school graduates—Bob from Parson’s and Mike from School of Visual Arts—they would often find themselves involved in other creative projects in graphic design, photography and illustration.
Before Mike opened his successful design studio Delevante Creative, he was a designer at the School of Visual Arts, Associate Art Director at National Lampoon, and designed at ABC, J.Crew, Time Magazine, and Rolling Stone.
Bob continued to pursue his musical muse and released three solo albums—Porchlight (1999), Columbus and the Colossal Mistake (2007), and Valley of Days (2016)—while also launching a successful design and photography studio. His work includes John Prine’s Grammy award-winning final album The Tree of Forgiveness (2018).